How about a robotic suitcase that can follow you on a bust airport like an obedient dog? Hop is a new concept for a self driving luggage which might one day help you avoid dragging your existing suitcase for miles on end.
Hop is a concept developed by Spanish inventor Rodrigo García. The idea is quite simple Hop is suitcase that follows the user. It uses three receivers in its body which communicate to the user’s smartphone over BT. A microcontroller in the bag interprets these signals and calculates the suitcase position in relation to the smart phone. The same microcontroller operates a caterpillar system based on compressed air located inside the bag, which follows the user at a constant distance. If the Hop signal is lost the user is alerted by the vibration of the smart phone and the suitcase locks itself in its place.
Hop can be programmed to follow its master or can be controlled jointly by the airport staff which handles the baggage at airports. The Hop is currently just a prototype and it’s unclear at this point if and when a commercial version will be available and how much it might cost.
Although the basic idea might have some appeal (especially if you are used to drag your heavy suitcase around airports on a regular basis), we did come up with at least a few possible shortcomings after watching the video of the prototype below:
- The Hop seems very small and with the caterpillar system it appears that it will have even lees room for the actual luggage.
- In the video Hop doesn’t seem especially stable (after all its a standing suitcase and those are never extremely stable especially when they are full).
- Airports can be extremely busy places. walking with a suitcase following you could work on less busy airport but when hundreds of people are squeezed together its difficult to see how the Hop can function properly.
- We are not sure about you but would you really feel secure walking around an airport not holding your bag? what if someone will simply pick it up and run?
- Hop appears to relay on an application running on your smartphone – what happens if the battery on your smartphone dies in the middle of the airport and you fail to notice – will your suitcase just stop and get lost?
These are just a few potential issues which we came up with – It seems that this idea still need some work before it can reach the market.
Video showing the Hop prototype in action
More on Hop can be found on the following link.