When you ship something, you typically put bubble wrap or newspaper around it, to provide impact protection and to keep it from rattling around inside the box. Well, PaQ is a self-inflating gadget that does the same thing for the precious contents of your suitcase.
About the size of a thick smartphone, the ABS-bodied main PaQ device is attached to an inflatable PVC bladder that sits folded up behind it when not in use. The whole setup weighs a claimed 7.7 oz (218 g), and is powered by two user-supplied AA batteries that should reportedly be good for about two years of once-a-week use.
Once you've finished packing for a trip, you unfold the rectangular bladder and place it within your suitcase, over top of its contents. Next, you press a yellow button on the main device to start its air pump, then you close and zip up the case. The pump will inflate the bladder until it takes up all the empty space inside the suitcase (up to a volume of about 10 liters), at which point an integrated pressure sensor will automatically stop the pump.
As the suitcase is in transit, the inflated bladder will hold all your clothes, liquids, electronics, etc in place, while also protecting fragile items from impacts. Upon reaching your destination, the bladder can simply be deflated.
PaQ is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, where a pledge of US$29 will get you a standard unit, when and if it reaches production. The estimated retail price is $49. If the funding goal is met, there are plans to also offer a Bluetooth-enabled model that will notify an app on your phone once your suitcase arrives at the airport baggage-pickup carousel.
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