Smart bags represent a leap forward in terms of personal technology and a great contribution to the category of wearable technology. Although not everybody has fallen in love with them and we’ve seen some controversy with airlines banning them in some instances. We’ll cover this and more in this article.
First of all what is a smart bag? A smart is a bag that utilizes technology. It contains a battery which can be used to power itself and other devices such as your phone. Although they vary in size and capabilities, in general they feature:
- GPS tracking – in case your lose your luggage or if your bag is stolen
- Charging capabilities for other devices such as your phone via USB socket
- Earphone jack for listening on the move
- RFID blocking liners to prevent identity theft (not all bags have this)
- Built in weighing scale for convenient checking before you check your bag if you are flying
There are even some versions of smart luggage with powered wheels which can effectively turn them into a portable ride on moped, check out this video courtesy of TechZone:
While the world of high tech luggage is very exciting to some people it’s not good news for the airlines who won’t be as welcoming of your brand new smart luggage as you would like (see below).
Why is it called a smart bag & what does it do?
It is called a smart bag (also known as smart luggage) because it has a battery and a circuit board which allow it do things that ordinary bags cannot do.
The bag has certain features which make it more than an ordinary bag, as the opening paragraph in this article mentions these bags have GPS tracking which means that if your luggage goes missing or is stolen you can track it using GPS.
They also have a built in weighing scale which is really handy to check that you are not overweight if you intend to carry your bag into the cabin of a plane.
Another feature that smart bags have is that they have a USB port which you can charge your phone in and also other devices.
Some bags also have an earphone jack which means you can plug your headphones directly into your bag and listen to audio as you travel.
There are some variations of smart luggage that have their own powered wheels and camera. This variation can follow you around with the need for you to pick the bag up, they also have object recognition which means not only can they manoeuvre around people and structures but they can recognise your face too.
The more expensive versions come equipped with a bracelet which can alert you if your bag is more than 2 metres away from you.
Is a smart bag a brand?
No there are many manufacturers of these smart bags it is not a brand. The phrase “smart bag” simply describes a bag that has more features than a standard bag (see above).
Well known luggage manufacturers such as Samsonite have launched their own smart bags but the birth of the smart bag has also given rise to a number of start up companies too.
What are some examples of smart bag?
Here are some of my favorites:
Kaning Airwheel Suitcase Scooter
Price: Around $820 (click the image to check the latest price)
The Kaning Airwheel Suitcase Scooter is an amazing suitcase you can ride on. It literally transforms from a suitcase into a compact moped.
Inside there’s an aircraft grade aluminium frame suitable for supporting people weighing up to 90Kg.
It can travel up to 10MPH and has a capacity of 29.3 Litres and is waterproof.
Ovis by ForwardX
Price: Not yet available to purchase at the time of writing. See https://www.facebook.com/ForwardXRobotics/ for more details.
A suitcase that is capable of following it’s owner all on it’s own.
Ovis can travel up to 10MPH and will manouvre around objects as it encounters them.
if it falls more than 2 Metres behind you it will alert a bracelet that you wear on your wrist.
It comes equipped with “standard” smart bag features such as GPS tracking, USB charging, removable battery and thick wheels suitable for various terrains.
Carry-On Closet 2.0
Price: $200 but not yet available for sale.
This is a portable closet which helps you keep all of your clothes neat and tidy on the move, unfortunately at the time of writing this is not yet available to purchase but check this link to find out if it has yet been released //www.kickstarter.com/projects/solgaarddesign/carry-on-closet-solgaard-suitcase-shelf-and-usb
Are smart bags just for travel or are there other uses?
No they’re not just for travel. Smart luggage is perfect for people flying (so long as your battery is removable) but smart bags are perfect for studnets and commuters for example who will benefit from the advantages of a smart bag.
Some smart bags are waterproof too which makes them perfect for hikers and campers or even if you are planning a fishing trip this makes it a perfect accompaniment.
Why are airlines banning smart bags?
The problem lies in the fact that smart bags have a battery and batteries are not allowed onto planes.
Smart bags have a lithium-ion battery and in most cases this is non-removable. In January 15th 2018 most airlines banned smart bags from their due to the fact that lithium-ion batteries when punctured can create a fire hazard.
VISICA now have this smart bag which not only is a fantastic 20″ carry on but it also has a removable battery.
Can I just remove the battery?
Not all smart bags have a removable battery so no you can’t, there are now some manufacturers who are making luggage with a removable battery (see the links above).
Airlines will likely ask you to remove the battery before you board.
Where can I buy a smart bag?
Most bags that you can buy anywhere are available on Amazon and have very competitive pricing if you buy from here.
Check out our reviews guide before you buy, spend your money wisely. Here at Tekmoz we like to look at every aspect of products that we recommend before they make it to our hitlist so you can be sure you will be getting a great quality purchase (coming soon).
Are they expensive?
There is a general price range of about $49.99 to $1000 depending upon what are looking for.
Simple smart luggage and bags contain the standard inventory items mentioned throughout this article but more expensive versions can have:
- Ride on capabilities
- Can follow you around using a smart camera to identify you and obstacles
- The ability to grow or shrink in size depending upon how much storage space you need
- Built in powerful speakers so you can blast music when you need to
- Customizable skins so you can vary the style and design of your smart luggage.
What is a smart sleeve? Is this the same thing as a smart bag?
A smart sleeve is a pocket which is found on the side of a smart bag. Not all manufacturers include one but Samsonite do; here’s a video:
Are they more comfortable than a regular bag?
Manufacturers appear to have gone to great lengths to make their bag made of sturdy materials including the straps which inlcude a good amount of padding for comfort and also a design which is to be made comfortable for your back.
They also tend to have reflective strips on them which adds an extra element of safety.
Smart bags allow you to use technology by plugging it directly into your bag. They are designed to be carry on luggage for flying, for commuters or people traveling without flying and would like the benefit of smart technology.
There is a bright future for smart luggage and we are seeing new innovations all of the time, this is just the start of things and I personally am very excited to where things can go to. Smart bags are an extension of personal wearable tech and we moving forward at an incredible rate!
People also ask:
What is a smart bag with a lithium battery?
We cover this is detail in this article. A smart bag is a bag that needs a lithium-ion battery to power it’s functionality (such as GPS, weighing scale, USB port etc). Most bags have a battery which is non-removable but some manufacturers are now creating bags that have a removable battery.
Airlines will not allow a lithium-ion battery on their flight so if you are flying it is recommended to buy a bag with a removable battery such as this one.
What does a smart bag do?
This is covered in this article too but essentially a smart bag allows you to charge your phone from a built in USB socket, it has GPS tracking in case it is stolen and built in weighing scale if you are planning to take it onto a flight.
Are airlines banning smart bags?
Yes, as of January 15th 2018 most major airlines banned smart bags that have a non removable battery, thankfully there are now some manufacturers such as this one by VISICA where the battery IS removable and these are being allowed