Flaws in the design of the “smart” luggage made by Bluesmart Inc. is causing the company to close its doors. Several major airlines have banned the luggage due to its lithium batteries—which could ignite and set fire to cargo compartments.
The company was started in 2014 with an impressive $2 million crowdfunding campaign.
The lithium batteries in question powered a GPS that users could track through their cellphones—which is the major selling point of the luggage. The batteries, however, also acted as a charging station for other devices, auto-locking mechanisms and a scale the weighs the bag.
The design flaw isn’t so much the lithium battery itself—other manufacturers have stayed in business as their designs avoided the issue—but the fact that to remove a Bluesmart battery one has to remove four screws and unplug at least three wires. The other makers’ batteries are easily removed.
Overall, these kinds of smart bags become just normal luggage without a power source to run features like the GPS tracking.
The company has already come out and stated they won’t be responding to any requests for refunds or replacements and will not honor any warranties.