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I’m heading to CES 2018, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas next week. And there’s one gadget that I wish I had. Travelmate Robotics will show off its autonomous suitcase, which is a robot on wheels that follows you around.
Travelmate Robotics developed the suitcase in San Francisco, and it raised $793,538 in an Indiegogo campaign a year ago. The suitcase lights up with different patterns, and it responds to both gestures and voice commands. If you want to give it a name, like Terminator T-1000, you can do so and it will respond to you. The company will show off the Travelmate at CES 2018.
The suitcases are priced at $1,100 and up. That sounds steep, but good suitcases cost a lot. This one has two USB ports for charging devices, an ergonomic handle, a smart lock, speakers, a battery, and sensors that help it navigate through crowds. I have enough trouble carrying a coffee, my backpack, and a roller bag when I’m trying to board an airplane. Something like this could be really convenient.
And CES would be the place to test it in the crowds. Of course, there’s nothing stopping someone from picking up the suitcase and carrying it off. But you might be able to track down its location, as you can see where it is via the Travelmate app, and the Travelmate’s wheels can lock if it senses that it is not following you anymore.
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The device has omni wheels that can roll in any direction. You can chain the devices so more than one Travelmate can follow you. They will even avoid colliding with each other. The suitcase can also measure the weight of what you put in it, so you don’t have to worry about crossing the weight limit.
The company also plans to launch new updates, such as full voice integration, which will allow you to do things like reserve tickets. Other developers will be able to create applications for the suitcase in the future.