If recent happenings in the crowdfunding scene are any indication, high-tech luggage is a pretty hot trend right now. In the past few weeks alone, a handful of different smart suitcases have popped up on Kickstarter and Indiegogo, and this week there’s yet another joining the fun.
This one is a bit different though. Unlike some of its sensor-studded competitors, the Fugu suitcase isn’t particularly tech’d-out. You won’t find any Bluetooth radios or built-in scales on this bag — but what it lacks in digital bells and whistles it makes up for with brilliant design.
Arguably its most significant feature is the Fugu Suitcase’s ability to expand. With the help of a small electric motor, the suitcase’s walls can be inflated, transforming it from carry-on size to full-size suitcase in just a few seconds. You’d think that inflatable walls would make it flimsy, but Fugu’s use of super-durable PVC fabric and internal drop-stitching make it anything but. This design (which is commonly used in inflatable stand-up paddle boards) allows the suitcase’s walls to become extremely rigid — so much so that they can support the weight of a person without buckling.
This expandability affords the suitcase a variety of different uses. In addition to providing more room for your clothes, Fugu’s case comes with a set of removable shelves that allow it to function like a temporary dresser. It can even be used as a table or laptop stand in a pinch.
Down below, Fugu also outfitted the suitcase with a set of omni-directional wheels, so it’s not just limited to rolling forward and back. You can push this badboy in any direction, which ostensibly makes rolling it through a crowded airport terminal less of a struggle.
Right now the suitcase only exists in prototype form, but Fugu has recently turned to the crowdfunding community on Kickstarter to raise money for tooling and production. The campaign has already blasted past its initial $50K funding goal, so if you back the project now and pre-order a Fugu case (~$220), it’s a fairly safe bet that you’ll be one of the first to get one when they ship next August.