A busy airport with lots of busy people and their luggage. Perfect spot for a robotic suitcase to make a first encounter with humans.
This is exactly the kind of people-place where robotics can really get to know people and people can get comfortable with autonomous objects whizzing around them all the time.
Of course, skycaps won’t like the intrusion of passenger baggage moving on its own and TSA agents might be a bit leery of an intelligent suitcase, but the committee for the vaunted James Dyson Award recognized it as ingenious.
Hop, the robot suitcase, is the brainchild of enterprising Spanish inventor, Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez, who, in addition to inventing new-age robo-luggage, has served up the perfect platform for other inventors to jump aboard to develop enhancements for Hop.
The potential add-ons for the robotic suitcase seem limitless: a future add-on might ask the suitcase to nip off to fetch a cup of coffee or to hail a taxi or to do whatever else that makes an airport wait easier or more constructive.
The robotic suitcase follows its owner by tracing Bluetooth signals from a Smartphone. Gonzalez placed three sensors in the luggage that receive signals from the Smartphone and has also planted a microprocessor to drive the two caterpillar tracks which power the suitcase.
Hop website: The same microcontroller operates a caterpillar system based on compressed air, which follows the user at a constant distance.
The bags can be programmed to follow one to another or controlled jointly by the staff that handles baggage at airports or transit stations.
If a suitcase can move by itself, besides facilitating the lives of a large number of travelers, families, or even disabled people, it could also impact baggage-moving conveyor belts, carts or most any sort of external conveyance.
If the signal from the phone is lost, the suitcase will lock itself and send a vibrating alert to the user’s phone.
Gonzalez is hopeful that he will be able to assemble a dedicated Hop development team and also find funding to further the ‘Hop!’ suitcase’s commercialization.
Caveat: He notes that the equipment is not 100% perfect, which means that more time is needed to completely perfect his robot suitcase.
Robotics is causing profound changes in the ways that the world has always worked, with many more changes still to come. Taking stock of those myriad changes, sorting through how each affects the new revolution and our future, and reporting on them to you our members is the job of Robotics Business Review.
"Business" is our middle name; so here at Robotics Business Review, we believe that business, just as it has so aptly demonstrated since 1962, will ultimately be the force that drives all emerging robotics' technology forward. Robotics business and the business of robotics are our prime focus. Learn more.