The James Dyson Award-winning Hop is a self-driven suitcase being prototyped by designer Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez. Embedding the function of a bellhop within the luggage itself, the Hop links suitcase to traveller through the traveller’s smartphone.
To set the suitcase in motion, the smartphone sends out a bluetooth signal that is recieved by three sensors in the suitcase. Triangulating the signal, the sensors detect the location of the smartphone and a connected microprocessor drives two caterpillar tracks to keep up with the smartphone’s whereabouts.
In the case that the signal is lost, the suitcase locks itself and the user is alerted with a phone vibration. Suitcases can be programmed to follow another suitcase or controlled by the operating staff at an airport or other public location.
While the video below shows the Hop cheerfully trailing a relaxed traveller down hallways and around corners, questions remain regarding its ability to travel at a quick pace, weight capacity and security issues.
For those of us who have struggled with juggling a jacket, sandwich, coffee, child’s hand and a carry-on handle while enroute to the departure gate, the Hop provides an attractive alternative, as well as inspires further invention for making travel day – or any weight burdened activity – more carefree to manage.