The Gita (that's "jee-ta") personal cargo robot from Piaggio Fast Forward is a cute rolling robot that will follow you anywhere - through airports, college campuses, cubicle farms and so forth.
(Imagine a future in which no one carries a backpack!)
Piaggio's decades of design expertise are immediately apparent in the carbon body of each Gita unit. It's 22 inches tall, with the smooth, shiny surface broken only by the large rubber treads and the assortment of cameras that help the Gita navigate. There's a small compartment accessed via the hatch on top, which can carry up to 40 pounds. At a demonstration I attended this week, I easily stowed my work backpack and its contents inside one of the units. All told, the length of the storage unit was enough to lay my 14-inch notebook down with room to spare around the edges, and I could have easily stacked more laptops and books on top of it, plus my DSLR.
How exactly do the Gita and Kilo know where to go? They don't use GPS -- which is fine because the device is intended to work indoors as well as outdoors. Right now, there are two modes of basic operation. The Gita can follow a person wearing a special belt, which connects to the robot via WiFi. The belts are currently rough, bulky prototypes, with a cooling unit clearly visible inside the 3D-printed housing. The belt has cameras built in, which helps the Gita determine where exactly you're going.
...he nabbed an autoporter and - after consulting the illuminated fee table on its flank - credded the minimum: $35 for an hour's service...
From now until his credit expired the machine would carry his bag in its soft plastic jaws and follow him as faithfully as a well-trained hound, which indeed it resembled, down to the whimper it was programmed to utter at the 55-minute mark, and the howl at 58...
(Read more about Brunner's autoporter)
For the many fans of the fantasy genre, I present this cool example from Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett:
(The Colour of Magic cover)
The massive wooden chest, which he had last seen rest solidly on the quayside, was following on its master's heels with a gentle rocking gait. Slowly, in case a sudden movement on his part might break his fragile control over his own legs, Hugh bent slightly so that he could see under the chest.
There were lots of little legs.
(Read more about Luggage)