Let's face it, air travel sucks. You are crammed in a small cylinder at 35,000 feet with a herd of other people like cattle, noshing on junk food a cranky flight attendant pitches at you while hurrying by. Worst of all, you forgot to charge your tablet and now can't watch all those Marvel movies you wanted to catch up on. A solution could exist to at least this last problem though, courtesy of a new so-called "connected carry-on" called Bluesmart that packs a built-in battery capable of charging your gadgets many times over.
It is, admittedly, a little weird to think about a suitcase as being technology-enabled. In a world where leaving cell phones and tablets on in airplane mode during take offs and landings was only recently given the green light, the idea of a carry-on that communicates to your smartphone wirelessly through Bluetooth seems quite foreign. It is something those behind Bluesmart swear the travel industry is ready for though, claiming they've gotten through airport security many times with prototypes without any problems.
A very feature laden design
Much of the interaction between a Bluesmart and your iPhone or Android device involves making use of a special app. With this app you can control a variety of the carry-on's features, including locking/unlocking its integrated TSA-approved lock, giving you its current overall weight when you pull up on the handle to activate its built-in digital scale, tracking its location globally through a GPS module tucked into it and providing real time trip reports with multiple data points.
In addition, the Bluesmart has built into it a number of security features that work in part with the app to make sure you don't leave it behind. These include proximity distance alerts, the ability to find the hand luggage with the help of a proximity map and automatically locking when you are away from it.
For those who have tablets and laptops, this luggage aims to provide some convenience to your travels while making use of these devices. A special compartment on the front of the Bluesmart is designed to hold this gear, while also reportedly making them easy to be removed for showing to security officials. There's also the previously mentioned built-in battery, which is reported capable of fully recharging a smartphone six times over.
The team behind Bluesmart is looking to add more features as well, including support for other smartphone platforms, support for smart watches like the Apple Watch and a planned API. This type of future planning will likely come after the initial software and product build out, which at this point from a crowdfunding perspective looks to be a go given the huge response the carry on has attracted on Indiegogo.
As all of the early adopter packages have now been snapped up, the first available pledge level is set at US$265. If all goes to plan, the first connected hand luggage is scheduled for delivery in August 2015.
More information on the Bluesmart can be seen in the pitch video below.
Ed's note: Bluesmart closed in 2018. This was, according to a report in FitSmallBusiness, due to major US airlines banning smart luggage with non-removable batteries.
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