The month of May has seen two makers of smart suitcases cease operations as a direct result of the Li-ion battery ban issued by all major airlines. The ban was initially issued at the end of 2017. This week, Raden joined Bluesmart in recognizing that the demand that batteries be removed before smart suitcases can be brought on commercial passenger airplanes “severely impacted the usefulness of our products.”
In making the announcement yesterday of its closing down, Raden issued a statement observing in part; “The changes in policies concerning batteries in luggage in December by all major airlines severely impacted the usefulness of our products, their value to our customers, our business performance and ultimately the ability to continue operating.”
Earlier this month, Bluesmart ceased operations and posted a note on its blog calling the Li-ion ban an: “irreversibly difficult financial and business situation. This represents a very unfortunate outcome for everyone involved, and we are all very sorry for this unexpected turn of events.”
A solution has already been put forward for development of smart suitcases that are “air travel friendly.” In April, prior to these developments, The Face® Companies of Norfolk, Virginia, revealed that they have an energy-harvesting-based solution the problem that’s been inhibiting the deployment of smart suitcases and they’re planning to bring this solution to market as EverTrack™.
With Face®’s patented Evercell™ power cell, smart suitcases will be able to operate without batteries, in virtually any temperature environment above absolute zero (minus 460°F). The Evercell™ is a lightweight, thin, permanent energy source that Face® will be bringing to market for this application through its EverTrack™ Luggage Technologies, LLC spinoff. EverTrack™ Luggage Technologies is actively looking for licensees and partners to bring this game-changing technology to market.
Evercell™ power cells are passive-structure, semiconductor-based thermal energy harvesters that exploit principles of quantum physics to produce a small, continuous flow of electric power in virtually any setting. They consume no fuel, have no moving parts, contain no toxic materials, and require no exposure to other stimuli, including motion, pressure, RF or electromagnetic energy.
Smart suitcases can be wirelessly tracked, they can weigh themselves, and their locks can be opened and closed by remote control. But all such luggage now depends on batteries, which run down and can also, in some cases, explode, hence the airline ban.
In making the announcement about EverTrack™, Brad Face, CEO of The Face® Companies stated, "Beyond the troublesome safety issue, the baggage handling industry recognizes that even the highest technology standards now broadly employed - such as barcodes and RFIDs - are not a satisfactory solution for handling the billions of bags checked every year. The industry wants to employ more efficient tracking technology across all handled baggage - not just the high-end smart suitcases." Face is looking for licensing partners through EverTrack™ Luggage Technologies, LLC?
“Only Evercell™ can support a battery-free wireless tracking system that does not require the scanning of each individual piece of baggage,” Mr. Face noted. “We call this Evercell™-based tracking system EverTrack™. We’ll use our trademark Lightning Bug™ in reference to discrete tracking devices that use EverTrack™.”