Looking for a way to interact with your phone without actually looking at it? Samsonite might have a solution — at least for certain scenarios.
The company’s new Konnect-i backpack uses Google’s Jacquard tech to connect to your smartphone. The Jacquard is a smart module inserted into one of the backpack’s straps, and the backpack also has a touch-sensitive part on the same strap. The backpack supports several gestures, such as swiping up or down and double tapping, which you can assign to perform various tasks on your phone.
These tasks can be anything from starting or stopping a music track to asking for navigation instructions. The Jacquard module also lights up and vibrates when you get incoming calls or text messages. All of this is setup via a smartphone app which is available for both the iPhone and Android smartphones.
How useful all of this is remains open to debate, as many of these tasks can be easily performed on a smartwatch or even the smartphone itself (yes, even without looking — remember iPhone’s Back Tap feature?). On its website, Samsonite has a fun ad where a sloth (yes, the actual animal) steals one of these backpacks and then uses it to play music and take selfies, which I guess isn’t the least realistic of usage scenarios. Joking aside, urban dwellers which never part from their backpacks (I often turn into one of those when traveling) might create a custom setup that could be helpful, especially if you’re often traveling on a bike or scooter.
Other examples of everyday objects using Jacquard tech include Levi’s Trucker Jacket with Jacquard, where the module is located in one of the jacket’s sleeves.
Other than the Jacquard module, the Konnect-i is a fairly standard backpack with water repellent fabric, multiple storage pockets, and a laptop compartment that fits laptops up to 15.6 inches in size.
The backpack is available in two formats: the Standard variant costs $219.99, while the Slim version costs $199.99. The only available color is black.