Future luggage from Samsonite may check itself in and follow you around

Carolina K. Smith MD/shutterstock
The unremitting grind of airport travel — waiting in line for security behind a slow-moving river of humanity, standing for hours at a dingy and decrepit gate, and settling for edible-but-not-entirely-appetizing terminal food-court fare — is about about to get the tiniest bit better. The Daily Mail reports that Samsung is teaming up with luggage-maker Samsonite to produce a carry-on bag with inbuilt circuitry that checks in, tracks, and even transports itself autonomously, potentially meaning one less major barrier between you and your final destination.

The prototypical baggage, according to the report, uses GPS and other hardware to precisely track its location. Right now it can relay that data to a smartphone or tablet in raw form, but it may eventually make smarter use of it — the two companies envision bags that alert their owners when they’ve left plane storage and reached the baggage carousel, for example. They may also reduce theft by chiming when they’ve been opened or have left the range of a paired device.

But that’s not all. “Smart luggage will be able to communicate with you but it needs to be able to do much more than just give its location,” Samsonite chief executive Ramesh Tainwala told the Daily Mail, and to that end the company’s developing motorized, self-propelling luggage. Still very much in the early stages, such bags could, thanks to retrofitted motors and proximity sensors, follow travelers from a configurable number of inches behind them.

That concept is still a stretch — thanks in large part to the bulky, 20-kilo motors required, and Tainwala admitted it “[isn’t] quite there yet” — but more firmly within reach is automated check-in. Samsonite is working with airlines on an integrated solution that’ll bypass the need to stop by the desk by communicating ownership, airline, and destination to self-service baggage weighing stations. It’s not a perfect solution — the company’s only working with Emirates, Lufthansa, and KLM Air France right now because airline systems are largely incompatible — but Tainwala says there’s no better fit for the bags’ wireless capabilities. “If you can communicate with your bag then why not the airlines?”

An unspecified future launch will likely align with Samsonite’s personalization program. Over the next few weeks, the company will debut an online portal that’ll allow customers to engrave their name, change the colors of locks and handles, and emblazon images on bags. “The most important thing is luggage must be seen as a beautiful object of desire and part of your personality,” said Tainwala. “When you walk with luggage it says something about you.”

If smart bags become ubiquitous, that’ll very literally be true.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I. selfie drones, ‘invisible’ wireless chargers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Need a quick battery boost? Try one of our favorite portable chargers

Battery life still tops the polls when it comes to smartphone concerns. If it’s bugging you, then maybe it’s time to snag yourself a portable charger. Here are our picks of the best portable chargers.
Emerging Tech

Here’s all the best tech gear and gadgetry that survived Shark Tank

The television show "Shark Tank" has churned out quite a few strange, interesting, and downright awesome products -- so we rounded up some of the best ones for your perusal. Enjoy!

These laptop bags will keep your notebook secure wherever you go

Choosing the right laptop bag is no easy feat -- after all, no one likes to second-guess themselves. Here are some of the best laptop bags on the market, from backpacks to sleeves, so you can get it right the first time around.
Emerging Tech

Hope it doesn’t melt! Rocket to ISS carries vital supplies — including ice cream

A rocket has launched over Virginia's eastern shore, carrying supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). Inside the spacecraft are supplies for the ISS itself and the crew onboard, such as scientific equipment and food.
Emerging Tech

‘Super-Earth’ discovered orbiting nearby star

Astronomers have discovered a large planet circling a sun nearby to Earth called Barnard's Star. The potential new planet is thought to be cold and icy and has a size of around 3.2 times the Earth.
Emerging Tech

Microsoft’s friendly new A.I wants to figure out what you want — before you ask

Move over Siri and Alexa! Microsoft wants to build a new type of virtual assistant that wants to be your friend. Already making waves in Asia, could this be the future of A.I. BFFs?
Emerging Tech

OSIRIS-REx spacecraft successfully tests its asteroid-sampling arm

The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, launched in September 2016, is closing in on its target of the Bennu asteroid. The craft has now unfurled its robotic arm, called the Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM), and tested it successfully.
Product Review

DJI has always been the king of drones, and the new Mavics are almost perfect

After flying both the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom for over a week, we’re convinced that these are two of the best drones that DJI has ever made.

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Emerging Tech

Smarter cities need smarter addresses. And you just need 3 words

To make really smart transportation choices, more precise location data will have to be integrated with citywide transportation data. Here’s how one company is mapping the world by using just three words.
Emerging Tech

Ghostly galaxy discovered lurking on the edge of the Milky Way

A team of astronomers from the University of Cambridge have discovered a strange galaxy next door to the Milky Way. The dwarf galaxy, named Antlia 2, is dark and dim and gives out much less light than expected.
Emerging Tech

Ancient crater the size of NYC discovered under the Greenland ice sheet

A huge crater has been discovered beneath the ice of Greenland, and is thought to be the result of a meteorite impact millions of years ago. The crater is one of the largest ever discovered, measuring 19 miles across.
Emerging Tech

Here’s how the InSight mission to Mars will confirm its landing to NASA

NASA's InSight mission has sent a lander to Mars. NASA researchers have now shared details on how they will monitor the touching down of the lander at the end of its 91 million mile journey.