AutoMatters & More: Hot New Product from CES 2020 - SkyTrek Smart Luggage

Key features
(Jan Wagner)

Whether our overnight traveling be by car, plane, train, bus or some other method of mechanized transportation, that requires luggage. In our busy lives it is easy to not think about that necessary aspect of travel until we are packing, which of course may well be too late to do anything about it.

Significant improvements to luggage have been few and far between. Perhaps the first big improvement to luggage was weight reduction. Steamer trunks were huge and heavy. Suitcases used to be made out of wood covered in wool, linen or leather. This ancient luggage was much heavier than today’s airlines-inspired lightweight luggage.

It can be argued that the greatest improvement to luggage was the addition of wheels – two at first, and then four, found on spinner luggage. Wheels are very convenient. At the extreme, wheels enable one person to stack and move several pieces of heavy luggage at once.

Vertical opening with adjustable interior compartments
(Jan Wagner)

My first recollection of luggage that I owned (and very recently retired) is a large (26-inch?), hard-sided, wheeled Samsonite suitcase. Basically it was a hard shell split down the middle into two halves. Each hinged half had a strong metal frame around its edge that did a good job of keeping the suitcase closed when it was handled roughly. The halves folded open, revealing a cavernous space on both sides. A hinged cover of see-through mesh above the interior of both halves kept the contents from spilling out, but within each half the contents were free to move around. Also, over time, the pairs of plastic clips that held these covers closed, repeatedly broke from the constant and heavy strain placed on them, necessitating inconvenient and expensive repairs.

Soft-sided luggage provided flexibility, but offered less protection to the contents than did hard-sided luggage.

More recently we’ve been seeing so-called “smart luggage.” Smart luggage uses modern-day electronics to add convenient features to our luggage. SkyTrek’s new, patented smart luggage is about to hit the market with many of these features, but SkyTrek is also introducing major improvements to the luggage itself. The combination of the two is especially compelling.

Physically the suitcases – available in 20-inch and 26-inch sizes – are hard-sided with a strong polycarbonate shell, but unlike previous luggage, this SkyTrek luggage is designed to not only be opened lying down, but also in the much more convenient upright position. Inside, adjustable shelves and a multi-opening zippered cover in one half of the luggage keep the contents separated, so that the case does not dump those contents when opened vertically. Larger items can go in the other half, secured by straps. There is also a waterproof bag, a padded bag and a regular packing bag. The 26-inch bag also has a garment hook.

Two exterior front pockets
(Jan Wagner)

Think of the possibilities that those adjustable, covered shelves offer. As a photographer, I could place a camera and other fragile electronic devices in custom-sized compartments, protected by the luggage’s outer hard shell.

Outside, SkyTrek has two hard-sided front pockets. One is for small things like your passport. The other is designed to hold and protect a laptop computer.

Finally a luggage company has realized that if the top surface of luggage was flat, it could be used as a work surface, a table for meals on the go or even to put your feet up on while you are sitting in the terminal waiting for your flight.

As for the numerous smart luggage electronic features, this SkyTrek luggage includes a global tracking system (using 3G, WiFi and GPS network connections to show you, on the SkyTrek phone app, where your luggage is), built-in digital scale (to help you avoid having overweight luggage), anti-lost alarm (using adjustable proximity sensor technology), TSA-approved fingerprint/face ID lock (no passwords or memorized combinations required), dual battery system (a miniature, integrated backup battery and an easily removable, rechargeable, 5200 mAh power source that can also recharge electronic devices) and an auto flight mode algorithm.

Built-in digital scale
Built-in digital scale
(Jan Wagner)

The SkyTrek app is compatible with iOS 9.0 or later, and Android 5.0 or later.

I predict that this innovative new SkyTrek luggage will be wildly popular. Over 1,000 backers have already pledged more than $400,000 (the goal had been a modest $30,000).

TSA-approved fingerprint/face ID lock
TSA-approved fingerprint/face ID lock
(Jan Wagner)

For more information, visit SkyTrek at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/skytrek-smart-luggage-with-vertical-opening/ or send an email to contact@skytrek.info.

To see additional photos, visit www.drivetribe.com, click on the magnifying glass, select “POSTS” and enter “AutoMatters & More #627” in their search bar. Please send your comments to AutoMatters@gmail.com.

Copyright © 2020 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #627


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