Good Thinking

Floatti offers smooth-riding smart luggage

The Floatti bag is a Kickstarter project at the moment, with shipping expected to start in December 2016
The Floatti bag is a Kickstarter project at the moment, with shipping expected to start in December 2016
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Floatti is available in two different sizes, one for carry on and the other for checking in your luggage
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Floatti is available in two different sizes, one for carry on and the other for checking in your luggage
The Floatti in action
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The Floatti in action
There are small organisers included for the inside of Floatti
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There are small organisers included for the inside of Floatti
Lifting Floatti lets you check how heavily you've packed
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Lifting Floatti lets you check how heavily you've packed
The tracker is small and inconspicuous
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The tracker is small and inconspicuous
The Floatti tracker integrates with the app to keep an eye on your other important belongings
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The Floatti tracker integrates with the app to keep an eye on your other important belongings
Similarly to the Parrot Zik, Floatti responds to a range of different inputs and commands
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Similarly to the Parrot Zik, Floatti responds to a range of different inputs and commands
A list of Floatti's potential commands on Android
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A list of Floatti's potential commands on Android
If you're worried about power, the suitcase can be had with a MacBook charger built in
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If you're worried about power, the suitcase can be had with a MacBook charger built in
Floatti includes an elastic strap to make sure your soft bag or handbag doesn't fly off on the way to your gate
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Floatti includes an elastic strap to make sure your soft bag or handbag doesn't fly off on the way to your gate
Floatti's impressive feature set
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Floatti's impressive feature set
The Floatti handle can be used to hang bags and headphones
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The Floatti handle can be used to hang bags and headphones
Floatti's wheels are attached to a clever suspension system for a smooth ride
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Floatti's wheels are attached to a clever suspension system for a smooth ride
The Floatti bag is a Kickstarter project at the moment, with shipping expected to start in December 2016
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The Floatti bag is a Kickstarter project at the moment, with shipping expected to start in December 2016

Having squeezed that last pair of socks into your suitcase, forced the zips shut and rushed out the door, there's nothing worse than having to wrangle uncooperative luggage over bumpy city streets on your way to the airport. A Californian team thinks it has the solution to this problem with Floatti, a smart suitcase with suspension, smartphone connectivity and an inbuilt scale.

The first clue to Floatti's feature set lies in the name: it has an inbuilt suspension system that works when you're pushing or pulling the suitcase. Rather than forcing you to wrestle your expensive suitcase and its contents along cobblestones or crumbling footpaths, the system allows the wheels to absorb the bumps and smooth out the ride.

There's more to this smart suitcase than a smart suspension system, though. When it's paired with your iOS or Android smartphone, the Floatti's handle acts as a touchpad that allows travelers to play, pause and change music tracks or control their camera. Android users are also able to call specific contacts, launch maps or set off a distress alarm with location information.

Similarly to the Parrot Zik, Floatti responds to a range of different inputs and commands
Similarly to the Parrot Zik, Floatti responds to a range of different inputs and commands

Working in tandem with these smartphone convenience features are a set of tracking features to help cut down on panic at the check in desk. Each suitcase comes with two small trackers for handbags, cameras or passport wallets, so you can open the app and check if you packed the camera again without rifling through all your belongings.

Also designed to cut down on packing, unpacking and repacking within the airport is the suitcase's removable gadget pouch. With a mobile charger, or optional laptop charger, the pouch is designed to ensure power-hungry travellers aren't left with flat batteries at their destination. The laptop charger boasts three USB 2.1A ports, a 15 W USB-C slot and a DC port and is claimed to be good for up to seven recharges of an iPhone 6 or 1.5 recharges of a MacBook. The pouch also keeps everything that might need to be x-rayed together, cutting down on time spent finding iPads, computers, cameras and phones in separate sections at security.

As well as connectivity there's also practicality, with a hook on each side to hang headphones, handbags or jackets from when you're in a rush. Failing those, there's also an elastic strap for fastening a second bag to the handle without having to worry about losing half your luggage as you sprint to a boarding gate.

Inside the case, individual pouches can be attached to the lining so cables, toiletries or sweet treats don't get tangled during turbulence. Also useful for avoiding excess baggage charges is an inbuilt scale that displays the weight when the suitcase is lifted by the handle.

Floatti's wheels are attached to a clever suspension system for a smooth ride
Floatti's wheels are attached to a clever suspension system for a smooth ride

There are two Floatti cases being offered on Kickstarter at the moment: the Check in, which measures up at 26.8 in (680 mm) x 17.9 in (455 mm) x 9.6 in (245 mm) and weighs 9.9 lb (4.5 kg), and the Carry on, measuring 21.6 in (550 mm) x 13.8 in (350 mm) x 8.27 in (210 mm) and weighing 7.9 lb (3.6 kg). Pledging US$250 will get you a Carry on suitcase with two trackers and a detachable mobile phone charger, while an extra $40 upgrades you to the Check in model if all goes to plan.

Currently the Kickstarter campaign has raised over US$86,800 of its $100,000 goal with 36 days left. It will take funding of $450,000, however, for the smart handle features to be integrated into the Floatti design.

A video demonstrating the suitcase's suspension system is below.

Source: Floatti

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