Connected Objects Luggage and Bags

HiSmart bag integrates smartphone to provide cool functions on the go

Watches, ovens, thermostats, lawn sprinklers, it seems like everything is getting smart these days. Why shouldn’t bags join in on the fun?

HiSmart is a smart convertible bag that goes from messenger to backpack in just two seconds. Simply connect a smartphone to the bag and an external remote allows the wearer to accomplish a number of things. For instance, if the wearer wants to remember a certain location, they can pin that spot to a map to find it later. Music and camera controls are also accessible from the remote. HiSmart also makes hands free calling and recording notes or messages easy. In addition, it has a “Buddy System” feature that lets the HiSmart find a lost smartphone and a smartphone find a lost HiSmart.

All in all, HiSmart is a great product for commuters and other important business people who find themselves in motion a lot. It’s a bit unclear how the camera feature works, but everything else makes perfect sense and would definitely prove to be useful. Backers who want their own must donate $189 for delivery in August 2015. HiSmart is looking for $50,000 in funding on Indiegogo by April 15.

Personal Transportation

Streamline your daily schlep with Haul-a-Day lightweight cargo bike

Biking has experienced a renaissance over the last decade and really taken hold as the primary mode of transportation in cities across the United States. Unfortunately, the market has skewed towards performance bikes and cruisers that offer effective transportation but without the carrying capacity people would need to be able to use it exclusively. Cargo bikes are available for those who are looking for that utility, but they’re heavy and have strong riders in mind.

Bike Friday’s Haul-a-Day is a reimagined type of cargo bike, one that can carry anywhere from 200 to 300 pounds while still being adjustable to fit riders 4’6″ to 6’4″ tall. The bike weighs in at 32 pounds, a light weight that aids its agility and allows any type of rider to effectively carry around anything they’d need, including other family members! The team at Bike Friday wants to empower anybody to live a bike-focused lifestyle with a variety of attachments that can change its utility based on a user’s needs, and their $45,000 campaign is looking to add other rider-friendly capabilities like electric assist. The standard eight gear Haul-a-Day goes for $999 while the deluxe, 24 gear version goes for $1,699, both of which are expected to be delivered in July 2015.

The Haul-a-Day improves on competing cargo bikes by offering something much lighter and versatile. Its premium price is justified as it’s meant to be used as a daily vehicle, but one problem Bike Friday doesn’t address is inclement weather, one of the last big issues for those who want to do so. In any case, the team address lots of other, more pertinent problems so their Haul-a-Day warrants support.


Bike Lift&Carry lets your bike ride you for a change

The Premise. Cycling has a great many advantages. Good exercise, clean energy and not having to deal with parking are just a few. Unfortunately, stairs, the natural enemy of the bike, exist. Sometimes it’s necessary to climb up or down stairs when cycling around. Bikes aren’t designed to be carried, making this cumbersome and awkward.

The Product. The appropriately named Bike Lift&Carry is a bike accessory that attaches to the seat post. It features a retractable nylon band that, when extended, loops around the middle of the bikes handle bars. This creates a shoulder strap that makes carrying your bike much easier. It’s strong, too, with the ability to hold up to 70 pounds. One hand rests on the crossbar while the other can be used to grip a railing or hold onto the handlebar to keep it from moving side to side. Assembly is easy and the strap comes in several colors.

The Pitch. The product was created by a Ukrainian couple. The video shows them biking around town, but becoming frustrated by stairs. The husband valiantly offers to help the wife with her bike, but she refuses. They then use Bike Lift&Carry and their marital problems are put to rest. In the remainder of the campaign, the creators are seen in photos using the strap in every which way. Bike Lift&Carry hopes to raise $32,000 USD in their 50-day Kickstarter campaign.

The Perks. This product goes for $45 at an early price or $50 at a regular price. Higher reward tiers offer the product in more durable finishes and flashy colors, such as “rainbow”. Tiers reach up to $200.

The Potential. Carrying bikes is a problem that has not been extensively addressed. Portage lets cyclists attach a piece of leather cushioning to the bars of the bike so that when slung over the shoulder, the metal isn’t too hard. Bike Lift&Carry is one of the first to come up with a way to make bicycles portable on foot. It has a clever design, but may take up valuable space on the seat post for lights and lock holders. Still, this product is great for cycling commuters who hate staircases. 

Luggage and Bags Personal Transportation

Commute-Case scooter inches closer to Jetsons’ suitcase car

The Premise. Briefcases serve business people by acting as luggage for all of those necessary work-related items. Sometimes, however, they can become hard to carry, especially during those long commutes to and from work. Perhaps the briefcase should carry you instead of the other way around

The Product. The Commute-Case is so much more than a briefcase. It also acts as a battery-powered personal transportation device and trolley. When folded up, the case looks like any typical bag, but folds out into the two above modes. Currently, the beefed up case comes in blue, black, beige, pink, green, purple, red and gray. When laid flat on the ground, the Commute-Case is 18” long by 13” wide and 4” tall. While in ride mode, the product can go as far as 25 miles at up to 12mph.

The Pitch. Commute-Case’s relatively dry campaign video fails to match up to how cool this product is. Another video in the campaign shows how the product folds out, but does so with an animation instead of showing someone doing it, making it unclear how easy or difficult it is for the Commute-Case to switch between different modes. This product has a lofty goal of $150,000 in 30 days on Indiegogo.

The Perks. Commute-Case offers several reward tiers, but only one with the case itself. Lower reward tiers feature extra cargo bags, warning lights and t-shirts. The last and highest level of $999 gets backers the case along with an engraving option that has an estimated delivery date of December 2014.

The Potential. In the briefcase/battery-operated scooter/trolley market, the Commute-Case may be, well, the only product there is. Its interesting mishmash of uses makes this case worthy of a George Jetson type. In addition, the price seems pretty fair based on the versatility of this product. The only questions that remain are how heavy is the case and how awkward is it to ride while straddling the briefcase? Even so, the Commute-Case is a new and interesting way for commuters to tote around their stuff.


Commuter Rack bike add-on lets your backpack ride sidesaddle

The Premise. Commuters who ride their bikes to work usually opt to wear backpacks, the perfect bag for laptops and files. Unfortunately, exercising and back-wear hardly mix, which can result in the embarrassment of back sweat soaking through one’s apparel.

The Product. The Commuter Rack is a bicycle accessory that allows riders to hang their backpacks from their bikes instead of wearing them. This metal fixture attaches to the front of a bike with one bolt. The backpack hangs from one side and the product’s low center makes up for funky weight distribution, resulting in a stable ride.

The Pitch. While the Commuter Rack video is straightforward to explain, the campaign video is over seven minutes long. It also appears as if there was an editing goof since the last two minutes are just a blank screen. The very, very slow-speaking narrator’s monotone voice is almost impossible to listen to and the dramatization of a sweaty executive arriving at work is bizarrely funny and gross at the same time. Commuter Rack hopes to make $60,000 in its 30-day run on Kickstarter.

The Perks. Backpacking backers who hope to use the Commuter Rack must shell out a whopping $500 for one of these bike accessories. At that price, you could buy your backpack its own bike. But wait, for only $75, backers can receive an *autographed* copy of the creator’s bike journal instead. What the Freight? Estimated delivery is set for July 2014.

The Potential. Bike accessories are all the rage nowadays. This product, however, probably won’t be. While the use of a rack specifically designed for a backpack — popular among cyclists — is certainly unique, most riders will probably either opt to just carry the bag on their backs as it’s intended or to stick it in a front or rear basket. After all, a vigorous ride is going to result in a fair amount of perspiration regardless of backpack placement. Bicycle enthusiasts who travel far with tons of cargo may be interested, but again the huge price tag is utterly ridiculous for all. Perhaps, at a tenth of the price, there’d be more of a market for the Commuter Rack.