The new luggage follows Nua Robotics co-founder Alex Libman as he strolls down the boardwalk. The new luggage follows Nua Robotics co-founder Alex Libman as he strolls down the boardwalk. The new luggage follows Nua Robotics co-founder Alex Libman as he strolls down the boardwalk. (Photo: YouTube)

This hands-free luggage follows you around like a pet

The smart suitcase also knows how to avoid obstacles and charge your phone.

This week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is replete with the latest and greatest cool gadgets. And today we found out about a piece of luggage being showcased there that is truly extraordinary.

NUA Robotics, a startup company based in Israel, has created a prototype for a suitcase that syncs with your smartphone via Bluetooth and follows you around all by itself. It even knows how to avoid obstacles. The suitcase not only charges itself on the go, but can also charge your other devices like smartphones and laptops.

Think of it like an adorable puppy that likes to follow you around, but it’s a piece of luggage.

Alex Libman, who studied electrical and computer engineering at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is the co-founder of NUA Robotics. "Any object can be smart and robotic," he said. "We're trying to make robotics a natural thing in everyday life."

Libman says the technology could also be used for other objects, citing a shopping cart that follows you around a grocery store as another example. This is similar to Cart2go, created by engineering students Omri Elmalech and Ohad Rusnak for a school project at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. Their prototype used a 3D Kinect camera from Microsoft to help gauge its surroundings.

NUA Robotics' invention is the latest in a string of advancements related to luggage that's being developed in Israel's startup ecosystem. A new "Transformer"-like suitcase called Fugu expands and shrinks on demand. Another exciting new entry is an electric scooter called the Inu, invoking the Japanese word for dog, which folds up into a suitcase. "Our intention is it's your friend in the city, and it's loyal," Nadav Attias, co-founder of Israel-based Green Ride, told From The Grapevine. "It goes with you all the time, and you take it with you wherever you can go."

As for the Nua Robotics team, they are having fun at CES in Las Vegas this week and are excited about the interest in their product. TechCrunch has said "Nua's following suitcases are getting us closer to a Jetsons lifestyle."

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