Wheeling your possessions around in the new Bugaboo Boxer will guarantee envious glances from fellow travellers.
But this isn’t just one item of luggage, rather the Dutch design company Bugaboo has created a system with a super lightweight and highly manoeuvrable chassis as the crux of the design. So, as in the image on the right, you can lock your suitcase to the chassis and then lock your carry-on bag to the suitcase. Once your suitcase is checked in, the carry-on bag locks to the chassis, which can then be easily stowed away in the overhead locker.
Pretty nifty for a pushchair company that has now diversified into the world of mobility.
As Bugaboo co-founder and chief design officer Max Barenbrug explains,“We are constantly looking around us, observing the world, and trying to pinpoint places where life can be improved – and become more fun.
That’s how we started: we saw how parents struggled to go out with their families. They were pushing around pushchairs that were not only unpractical but ugly! We decided to change that. But we just happened to start off with pushchairs. For us, it’s not about asking why we are moving into the luggage category, it’s about asking why not?”
This project has been in development for eight years and the intention has been to apply the Bugaboo design philosophy to luggage by incorporating some clever design and engineering.
The chassis is what the whole system hinges upon, literally. Its ergonomic design allows for a smooth experience by either pushing the luggage in front of you using four wheels or pulling it behind you on two.
“You will notice that while pulling it, it is practically weightless – there is no weight on the handlebar because at the front by the wheels there is a lot of counterweight,” explains Barenbrug.
Apparently, there are more mobility concepts in development from this rebranded mobility brand and from the man who admits that he is crazy about wheels and how they can make life better.
The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute is on a mission to change the way we make things. In a series of six circular design challenges, which it is running through to 2018 and carrying out in collaboration with Autodesk, it’s encouraging the design community to envision solutions for the circular economy.
One of the winners in the fourth challenge, that were announced earlier this year, was Paris-based Frame Design Studio which received the Best Professional Project award for Eco-Luggage.
“The idea for doing ‘greener’ luggage came from walking cites like Paris where we saw a lot of luggage that was in very good condition but just missed one part. The way standard luggage is designed (as well as a lot of other goods) doesn’t enable parts to be replaced.
“It means that if the zipper, a wheel or the handle breaks you’re not able to use your luggage anymore. That was our starting point for this project: to do a design focused on our environment,” describes Taina Campos, co-founder of Frame.
The result is a design that features easily detachable, multi-use components. As it can be easily disassembled, individual parts can be repaired or replaced as needed. It has also been made from carefully selected materials, which include aluminium, bamboo, hemp and Guayule based rubber for the wheels.
Following positive feedback from the challenge, Frame are currently developing prototypes of this luggage.
Along for the ride
Why carry your luggage when it can carry you? That is the question Chicago entrepreneur and avid traveller Kevin O’Donnell was pondering when he found himself wearily pulling his heavy hand luggage around an airport.
He approached his friend and motorcycle designer Boyd Bruner and together they came up with a concept for motorised, rideable hand luggage.
“Boyd has built and tested things with wheels since childhood, so the Modobag was built and then reverse engineered.
Once prototypes performed to expectations, sketches and CAD followed,” says O’Donnell.
However, they needed help in making it a production-ready design. For this, O’Donnell approached the product design consultancy Product Development Technologies (PDT).
“In addition to making the product manufacturable, there were still a few open design issues that we resolved together.
One of the primary design concerns was strengthening the frame – we brainstormed several potential options, and then narrowed it down to the final frame design,” explains Steve Fragassi, mechanical designer at PDT.
PDT used Creo to perform FEA on the frame structure, to ensure the chosen frame design would properly support users.
The end result is a high-strength ballistic nylon shell and aluminium chassis that can accommodate riders up to 118kg. It can travel six miles on a single charge and also comes with dual USB charging ports.