The busiest part of the year for travelers is coming.
Memorial Day through Labor Day is when seemingly everyone is going somewhere.
And at airports, that means there are a lot of people who, try as they might, get in each other’s way, or clonk into each other.
While these corridor collisions have led to some A+ passive-aggressive tweets over the years, what we really need is to find ways to avoid colliding at the gate in the first place.
And researchers at Carnegie Mellon University appear to have found one: a collision-detecting suitcase primarily intended for travelers who are blind or have visual disabilities.
The case rolls along with you as you move through the airport.
When it detects someone or something in your path, it starts beeping, sort of the way newer cars beep if you’re about to back into something. Both you and the people in your way get a heads-up before your heads try to occupy the same space.
And the suitcase pairs with a smartphone app that can also point the way to your specific gate, or the nearest restroom, or a particular restaurant.
The airport thus becomes safer and more inclusive, and the app ends up on track to be the first entity ever to find its way around the airport without getting lost.
Last week a brewery in Charlotte, North Carolina had to do some looking.
The Unknown Brewing Company announced online that its van had gone missing, possibly stolen.
A van is a big thing to lose, and they wanted it back.
So they asked the public for help, and said, whoever helps us find the van will get a keg party, even the culprit.
No questions asked, just return the vehicle and you get a keg.
Just 42 minutes later, they had their van back.
And the woman who spotted it earned a keg party.
Collision-Detecting Suitcase, Wayfinding App Help Blind People Navigate Airports (Carnegie Mellon University)
Screenshot from video by Carnegie Mellon University