No, it doesn’t have little feet, and it doesn’t occasionally eat annoying people, but otherwise this Russian-invented luggage that follows its owner around sure sounds like the luggage belonging to Rincewind the Wizzard in Terry Pratchett’s novels: (Via Sci Fi Tech.)
Russian specialists intend to become first in the world to launch mass production of robots-suitcases that are able to follow their owner in footsteps. In order to make the mechanism follow its owner, it is enough for the person to put a sensor-card into a pocket and the suitcase will dutifully roll after the owner.
A gyroscope, light sensitive detectors, ultrasound and infrared sensors help the smart suitcase bypass obstacles, to roll in conditions of an inclined surface, and to stop when stumbling upon the edges of staircases and balconies. The robot-suitcase’s accumulator charge is said to be enough for non-stop operation during 2 hours.
The suitcase developers (Robotronic.ru) have given the mechanism a human name – Tony.
The plan is for the suitcase to be available in 2009 for around $1,960 U.S. (Image from Robotronic.ru.)
[tags]robots, novels, technology, Russia[/tags]
4 thoughts on “Robotic luggage follows you around, doesn’t eat annoying people…yet”
Not quite luggage, but I saw something on TV recently about a department store in Japan where your shopping cart would follow you around.
I wonder about security issues for air travel. The large battery and/or electronics package might be reconfigured to conceal weapons or explosives. If it cannot be approved for use by aircraft passengers, it may generate only a few customers.
A similar device — the autoporter — appears in “The Shockwave Rider” by John Brunner:
“…he nabbed an autoporter and – after consulting the illuminated fee table on its flank – credded the minimum: $35 for an hour’s service…
From now until his credit expired the machine would carry his bag in its soft plastic jaws and follow him as faithfully as a well-trained hound, which indeed it resembled, down to the whimper it was programmed to utter at the 55-minute mark, and the howl at 58.
At 60 it would drop the bag and slink away. ”
It would be brilliant to have a robot (suitcase or otherwise) that dealt with annoying people – but it would have to have its First and Second Laws modified in some way so that it could actually do something effective to get rid of the annoyances. (Ei pick them up in one hand and dump them in something nasty!)
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