Many travelers will have faced the problem of the carry-on luggage that was big enough when embarking on a trip, but fell well short on carrying capacity for the return journey thanks to the addition of souvenirs, bargains and gifts for loved ones. Fugu Luggage avoids the need to shell out for an extra suitcase to fit all that extra gear by expanding from a maximum carry-on size to check-in size suitcase in under a minute.
Named after the Fugu, or pufferfish, the Fugu Luggage expands from a compact carry-on size to a full-sized suitcase courtesy of its accordion-like side walls. To comply with the maximum carry-on size limitation of airlines, the case measures 21.5 in (55 cm) wide, 13.5 in (35 cm) deep and 9 in (23 cm) high with a volume of 40 L in carry-on mode, extending to 27 in (68 cm) high with a volume of 120 L when fully extended. The Fugu tips the scales at 8.8 lb (4 kg), which the creators say is comparable to other average-sized luggage.
Converting from compact to full-size modes involves inflating the suitcase walls, which are made from drop stitch, a rugged PVC material used in inflatable boats. This can be accomplished either with an electric pump built into the case, an external pump, or with lung power by breathing into an external tube. The Fugu's built in pump can also be used to deflate vacuum bags to minimize the volume of clothing when packing.
Since luggage isn't just intended to carry your belongings, but also protect them while still being lightweight enough to drag around, the Fugu team claims the drop stitch walls can take a beating, as can the top and bottom of the case, which are made of ABS plastic. The Fugu team says the case is waterproof and impact resistant and has successfully passed an altitude drop test.
The case also features removable shelves that allow the case to double as a storage unit and make it possible to live out of a suitcase without unpacking and packing to a from a hotel closet, while the height of the case when extended makes it suitable as a makeshift table or laptop stand. To that end, the case also houses an optional laptop case that can be easily removed from the larger case. Meanwhile, multi-directional omni wheels allow the case to turn on a dime and be dragged in any direction.
The Fugu Luggage concept comes from Isaac Atlas, who enlisted the help of Daniel Gindis and David Lifshitz to develop the idea. The Israel-based team received a grant from the Office of the Chief Scientist of Israel's Ministry of Economy and is now raising funds on Kickstarter to take the idea from prototype to production, with pledges starting at US$219 for a standalone Fugu Luggage case. So far things are looking pretty rosy for the team with the campaign having blown past the $50,000 goal and nearing $200,000 with well over two weeks still to run.
The team's video pitch can be viewed below.