From unwieldy trunk, to streamlined handled bag, to Eureka! luggage on wheels, to Hop. The suitcase that follows its user. Or rather, follows its user's cellphone signal. Hop contains three receivers able to intake, identify, and triangulate signals emanating from a linked cellphone. Once attached to a designated signal, a caterpillar system set of rollers, based on compressed air, allows the suitcase to tag along at a constant distance behind it. Like magic! Or a subservient significant other!
If at any point the connection between phone and Hop are lost, the phone vibrates to alert users, and the suitcase locks itself. Multiple bags can also be programmed to follow one another, which, Spanish creator Rodrigo Garcia points out, could be applied to women who travel with an army of luggage, or to eliminate baggage conveyor belts at the airport. Women, have at it, but conveyor belts? Come on. I don't think there is any way in hell an airport would tear out its existing conveyor belts to make room for self-propelled suitcases to parade around the floor in search of their mommies and daddies. However, my imagined visuals of this actually happening are comical enough to curb my cynicism about the Hop's application for second.
For a second.
Because I just don't know about automatic suitcases. To me, Hop is kind of cute in the same way a puppy dog or giant peacock trailing at someone's heels would be kind of cute. And in fact, the inspiration for the eager suitcase that could comes from professional foot followers: bellhops. But its actual execution and full-scale production, at least fitted with its current style of automatic roller technology, seem impractical at best. For one, I'm fairly sure Hop would fail to keep up with my Olympic pace walking gait, and for two, if I were to use it in places where people commonly tote luggage, such as airports and hotels, I would give it less than five minutes of plodding along before it hit another suitcase or person, or someone kicked it over or kidnapped it. It's a clever concept, but the number of improvements it would need to serve a viable purpose would probably render its costs exponentially higher than just paying a person to follow me around with my luggage. And factoring in that I can get my mom to do it for free really delivers the final blow to my motivation to pursue the Hop's future.
That said, If Garcia wants to send a me a prototype to take for a test drive when I go to Mexico next month, I would gladly admit if the Hop in person repudiates my initial perceptions and sentiments.
Muchas danke to Damn Geeky.