ITP student Ohad Folman has created a luggage concept which uses the energy produced when wheeling the suitcase as well as a solar panel to charge an internal battery which can then be used to recharge your gadgets when travelling. Dubbed “Pluggage,” Folman states that the battery in the prototype will charge after around two hours of walking at between two to five kilometres per hour and that once charged it could power a laptop for around an hour and a half.
The prototype was constructed from a Burton bag, a Duracell PowerSource Moble 100 external battery pack, a stepper motor, a multimeter and a Brunton SolarRolls flexible solar panel. Here’s what Folman said about it:
I would envision this piece to retail for $400 to $550 depending on the model (with flexible solar capability or without). The kids model would probably be cheaper (around $250) and the bare-bones (for those who already have a carry-on case) and are interested in the kinetic capabilities would be around $300.
I’m working on making the kinetic mechanism removable (like a tape cassette) so it can go through air port security easily (the kinetic mechanism can be scanned separately). I’m also working on hand release switch that will enable the user to remove the friction between the motor and the wheels in situations where the user needs to rush somewhere and does not want to have to deal with any level of friction.
The folks over at Gizmodo reckon that you’d have to avoid airport moving walkways but I disagree. If you were to tether the bag to something and rest its wheels on one of those walkways, your gadgets could charge without you lifting a finger!