I have something that follows me around all the time: my dog Jasper. His cargo-carrying capability is limited, though, and he requires occasional treats. Not so this robotic suitcase. All it needs, the designers claim, is an occasional charge and a Bluetooth device to follow.
Designed by NUA Robotics, this suitcase is equipped with powered wheels and a certain amount of smarts: enough to figure out the direction of a Bluetooth signal such as your cell phone and follow it. This is also accompanied by proximity sensors so it doesn’t bump into you or other people. When the built-in battery runs out, just pop put the handle and pull it yourself, and the regenerative motors will recharge the battery. There’s no indication on price, battery life or how much space is left to actually carry stuff yet, but the designers claim it could be out within the year. As someone who uses a walking stick, this sounds like a great idea. And if they can work out how to get it to walk the dog for me, that would be even better.
Now, who will be the first to build a clone of this in their basement? Bonus points if it’s a two-wheeled self-balancer.
64 thoughts on “Robotic Suitcase Follows You Around”
Cool. Is any Sapient Pearwood involved?
I immediately thought of the discworld character too!
And also the “Ben Heck Show”.
That was my instant first thought. This suitcase would be really cool with legs.
‘Bonus points if it’s a two-wheeled self-balancer.’
Ultimate bomb delivery system.
It’s not autonomous.. yet!
Sh!t, you are right. Not sure if the FAA, TSA or NSA should handle this one. Im sure theyve already created a joint task force to “fix” this situation
In my opinion, that title still goes to Project Pidgeon.
I am sorry, but how the hell you missed naming this “The Luggage”?! Suitcase? Seriously?
This project need more Sapient Pearwood.
Yes, let’s make it easier for people to steal someone’s luggage.
I was thinking the same thing.
This article title: “Robotic Suitcase Follows You Around: Gets Stolen on First Use”
I’m sure it can sound an alarm when it loses connection to the device it is following.
Well it’s bluetooth, maybe someone could hack it to follow them.
Just needs to beep gently, so you know it’s there. That, or train it to walk in front of you.
But what if it did its best to return to the owner or phoned home with its location?
I like to see it doing its best to return to the owner when it’s lying on its side, or being carried away by the handle.
It would be funny seeing it try to run away every time it was put down.
Depends on how heavy it is, if it’s even possible to run away with it.
You could give it a ground detector, so if it’s lifted it starts beeping. Obviously you disarm that by pressing a button on your phone before you lift it yourself. These are all just technical problems!
Advertising. One link to the company which sells the product, a wrapping blabla, and one link to an HaD article.
with such “articles”, HaD looks more like Thinkgeek than anything else.
No information, no hack, no howto, no code, not even a photo of the guts of the item, nothing. Just plain advertising!
Ah, but they’ve thrown out the challenge of building one yourself. You complain of lack of hack… make your own and submit it. Bonus points if you make it a two wheeled self balancer.
If they can make it sound like a Mouse Droid when it’s moving around I’m sold.
Really? Cause I was just thinking that it is time to find (or build) some R2 looking luggage.
No need to burden your Astromech Droid with mere luggage handling.
Need to make it look like a MSE-6-series repair droid. That way any Wookie can scare it. Actually some I’ve seen in airports are a lot scarier.
Buy several suitcases, arm them (chainsaws?), and make each suitcase follow one of the other suitcases. Or could one make a train of suitcases? Next suitcase follows a cheap Chinese Android phone on the previous one. I wonder if they would go around in a loop if the tail follows the head.
This product doesn’t make a lot of sense so I’m not trying to figure out anything sensible use for it.
Awesome, now let’s get rid of all stairs and curbs and we’ve arrived in ]The Future.
Stairs are all it took to mess with Claptrap in “Borderlands 2”
or a place that’s, ya know, wheelchair accessible…
You are, of course, absolutely right. Those stupid wheelchair ramps were built for robot luggage and not, ya know, people who use wheelchairs.
Those motorized remote control golf bags would be cool with this feature.
I first saw one of these when I was caddying for gas money in the *seventies*. Golfer wore a CW transmitter on his belt, like a pager (remember those?). The golf cart had two loopstick antennas and two motors, and no computer. Not even an arduino. It measured the difference in signal between the two antennas and pointed the cart in the direction to minimize the difference. If the signal power was low it went forward. If the signal power was high, it stopped. Worked fine. No bluetooth required. Good thing too. Cell phones didn’t exist then.
So did it just run right over the owner?
No, it sounds like as the unit approached the owner, the signal would get stronger thus telling the thing to stop.
and when the battery died? Skynet!
That’s very cool … was any such thing ever manufactured for golf or any other purpose?
I noticed a couple of things while watching the video:
– The guy and his robot are traveling slower than everyone else toward the center of their path, causing everyone to awkwardly dodge around him. Not a good situation in a crowded bustling airport.
– The guy is constantly looking over his shoulder to check on his robot. I would be too. Running into a post in a crowded airport is no way to live, son..
– The luggage would not fit in a standard overhead bin, which means it would need to be checked. Checking my large luggage is the first thing I do when I get to an airport.
I’d say it’s a cool hack, but as others pointed out, it’s not really a hack. I realize this may be an early prototype, but I don’t see the point of it in its current form. I’ll stick with my $30 roll-a-board…
I’m not intending to be cruel; please don’t take my critiques that way.
Not to mention a trip hazard for others.
And the added weight to the overall luggage, think when you have to lift this into your car or at the airport for check-in.
Trip hazard? It just needs to beep. Robots should beep.
Yep. when it can follow me at full sprint dodging through people from Gate G to Gate A for my connecting flight that leaves in 20 minutes and I have a 15 minute distance to travel….
Just stick it with 4 propellers and call it an UAL (Unmanned Automatic Luggage)
I agree. It’s hip, but not practical in the least. Just because you can do something doesn’t make it a good idea. (And making it a two-wheeled balancer, like some others suggested, would just make it worse.)
If I were to do this at all, I’d put it on a spring-loaded retractable leash, clipped to your belt. Just like the ones for dogs. Have it advance based on the leash extension/tension, attempting to maintain a steady distance. Steering is optional, the front wheels could just be casters, or it could steer based on side tension of the leash.
Simpler, lighter, smaller, cheaper. It follows directly behind you, at a known distance. And if there’s an issue you’ll know when the leash starts pulling, rather than having to look over your shoulder constantly.
If you’re going to attach a rope to it you’d be just as well to tow it as well.
Except that sudden stops would be painful. I like the retractable leash idea only because, not only would it know when to accelerate to keep up with you, it would know when to brake… Plus, as mentioned, a little tension on the line would assure you that it’s still there, helping to avoid whiplash and forehead bruises.
Unless you also make it tall, it’s still a trip hazard for others in crowded areas. Even if it’s a mop handle with a wig on top, it would draw enough attention from passers-by to keep from getting stepped on.
It would just be easier to make it ride on.
Best Wishes with your favorite Customs or Airport staff, it’s better to try to build a clock as a school project instead
^ This exactly.
We live in a world where a woman was arrested for wearing a t-shirt with LEDs on it into an airport. Something like this would probably keep you from ever seeing your loved ones again.
missing a couple of things. A head, a tail, and a voice box.
Ive been wanting to build a luggage holding K-9 for awhile. complete with self protection capabilities :)
“self protection capabilities” – would that be:
a) a kilowatt fiber laser?
b) 3′ bar chainsaw?
d) ultra taser powered by a Marx generator?
Or, the James Bond burglar protection method:
There’s not enough room in a K-9 for luggage. However, you could use him like a pack mule. Mine can support the weight of an unsupervised toddler jumping on his back.
Here in the Netherlands Guust did this in the seventies, only he took a huge amount of regular D cells, leaving a very small space in the suitcase for only his toothbrush…
(in french he was named Gaston Lagaffe, a Hacker with a capital H)
A mini version of Tesla meeting you at your driveway: http://time.com/3490179/tesla-new-model-s-car/
I’m calling vaporware on this. The only sensors visible on this device are ultrasonic range finders, all of which are pointing in the same direction. Which means that the robot should only be able to detect things that are directly in front of it. At best, it should be barely capable of obstacle avoidance and should have trouble with obstacles that are not directly in front of it. If you change direction 180 degrees or so, the robot must also rotate around and because it does not have any sensors on its side it could bash into something. Not to mention that in this configuration the sensors could interfere with each other, they don’t detect things that don’t reflect ultrasound back to the sensor, and changes in temperature/humidity result in different distance measurements.
I am also very doubtful that phone bluetooth alone is enough to localize the user.
Maybe this example doesn’t quite work, but it’s all well within possibility for the technology we have available.
Instead of a personal suitcase, someone needs to use this technology to design a buggy you rent when you run between airplanes. You could drop in a few quarters or swipe your card, sync to your phone, pile on your carry on luggage and walk fast to the next gate. The machine could even be smart enough to stop following when it’s put away – where it would be charging & waiting for the next person to feed it’s owners quarters!
Ben Hack did this almost 4 years ago:
I started thinking about this type of “follower robot” back when I was running a lot. I’d often run to/from work. I wanted of a robot that could follow me, carrying my work laptop, my lunch, and my work clothes. This one is obviously only a “start”, but interesting nonetheless. I’m sure militaries would be interested in ruggedized and more-advanced versions of this. They’re already talking about using the boston dynamics robots to haul gear for soldiers.
I’d like to see a version of that with light off road capabilities; I go to a school where the roads are bad and the sidewalks are almost nonexistent, so being able to run to class and back home without worrying about my books would be nice. Maybe I could hack some monster truck RC parts to do it?
Good luck getting it on a plane. :-)
I think they do have something similar for military purposes called a “mule”. (like the animal.)
I always thought of building one myself when I was at school holding heavy text books.
I thought I saw this project on HaD but I cannot find it. This jeep follows you around without bluetooth.
I wonder if her uses the same battery vender as the makers of the so called “hover boards”?
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