POrter

Overview

Porter is an autonomous luggage concierge designed to transport your luggage from your home to your destination. It is a speculative product design piece imagining how luggage might evolve in the coming age of shared autonomous transit.

Team

Solo thesis project

Responsibilities

Sketching, journey mapping, 3D prototyping, branding

Timeline

5 months

Context

3D Product Design II, School of Visual Arts


 

Background

When transit changes, luggage changes. Porter is designed for a near future where transit is shared and autonomous. It works as part of a service that moves your luggage on an optimized, independent journey to your destination. Its heavy-duty construction and reinforced shell protect the user’s belongings, while it’s autonomous capability minimize the chances of theft by eliminating a stranger’s touch on one’s luggage.

 
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Phase I: Research

While studying user groups who frequently travel (like businesspeople, nomads, and families), I began to notice a common pattern among each of them: disorganized, unsecured luggage. Professor Susan Harlan of Wake Forest University says that the “history of luggage is the history of travel”, highlighting the luggage piece as the key product in a travel-centered existence.

 
 

History

Historically, innovations around luggage usually occurred after innovations in transit like: powered locomotion, ocean lines, and commercial air travel.

Users

I identified 3 core user groups with unique challenges and needs to design for: wheelchair users, families with young children, and business travelers.

 
 
 

Key Insights

 

Phase II: Synthesis & Framing

Building on my research, I created a journey map of how users interact with luggage throughout a trip involving an airplane or train. In order to better envision the future context I would be designing for, I created a speculative newspaper and wrote several articles to capture a typical day in a highly-automated, multi-modal transit future.

 
 

Journey Mapping

Based on a typical long-haul trip, I mapped out each interaction a traveler might have with their luggage.

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Design Fictions

To better empathize with users in my future scenario, I created a fictional newspaper from the year 2060.

 
 

Problem Framing

How might we redesign the experience and utility of luggage in a shared, autonomous future?

 
 

Phase III: Prototyping

After reviewing my journey map and design fictions together, I realized that automation will allow for a far more streamlined luggage journey in the future. Subsequently, I storyboarded a product that might hint at a fully autonomous future luggage system.

Storyboarding

 
 

Concept Sketches

 
 

Design Inspiration

 

Sacrificial Prototypes

Sprocket Prototyping

Branding

Tread Prototyping

Fabrication

 

Final Prototype

The Porter looks-like prototype measures roughly 3.5 x 2.5 x 2 ft long, with an aluminum body and articulating treads on either side. The interior capacity fits a standard-sized carry-on luggage.