back to article Catch cack-handed baggage handlers in the act with Ericsson's SPY SUITCASE

Do you ever get the feeling that your luggage is having a better time than you on long-haul flights? An indulgence from Ericsson's engineers could let you know for sure. The Ericsson security suitcase has what is effectively a mobile phone built into it which monitors where it is and what is going on around it. If baggage …

I always find lots of wiring and (presumably) lithium batteries ensures my suitcase has a smooth passage through various security checks at airports.

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Oh how the x ray scanner operator laughed...

At least it will ensure you and your suitcase stay close together whilst the security services check it out . The following interviews should be hoots of fun . Much better than that holiday you were looking forward to .

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Re: Oh how the x ray scanner operator laughed...

or a carrier bag with the remains of the controlled explosion (followed by the bill in the post for wasting their time)

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Having lost 4 suitcases over the years it will make no difference to me what the baggage handlers have done to it.

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Anonymous Coward

I always find lots of wiring and (presumably) lithium batteries ensures my suitcase has a smooth passage through various security checks at airports.

Only if you use Dell laptop batteries :)

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Ericsson has the patents on this one.

"Blah ...technical stuff ... blah .... implemented within a SUITCASE." Patent awarded.

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Trollface

Re: Ericsson has the patents on this one.

So I stick the same thing in a golf bag or a sousaphone case and it's $$$$ and a private carribean island?

<Mr Burns>Excellent!</Mr Burns>

Troll 'cos, you know, patents.

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AND looking at it

a guarantee that every time it goes through an X-ray machine, it's going to get opened and miss your connecting flight.

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I don't know which airlines THEY use, but 'round here, I don't need a camera or accelerometer to tell me the baggage handlers are treating my bags like soccer balls. Ditto for couriers for that matter.

That's why I pack things knowing full well they're going to get treated like that.

I just haven't convinced anyone sending ME stuff to do that yet...

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Same here...

We had a courier tried to deliver something but no-one was in so he threw it over the back fence and left a card to say it was safe in our back garden.

Just a shame the contents were now in tiny pieces

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Same here...

Just a shame the contents were now in tiny pieces

Add a tube of glue and call it a 3D puzzle :)

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Gold badge

Re: Same here...

We had a courier tried to deliver something but no-one was in so he threw it over the back fence and left a card to say it was safe in our back garden.

Ours didn't leave a card and logged it as "delivered". I'm pretty sure if I hadn't been on their case less than an hour later it would have been "delivered" at some pub instead and the supplier had to do the insurance thing. They even made up a signature..

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Re: Same here...

Same here. One of the (luckily not very) regular couriers that delivers parcels to my village is either illiterate or just a thief. Often items get delivered to a nearby village instead (duh, postcode, clearly printed correct address, nobody of the correct name to sign for the parcel, none of which seems to matter) to items getting delivered and "signed" by somebody no neighbour has ever heard of but after complaints the items tend to miraculously reappear the following day as if they were originally delivered nearby - for example, boxes have appeared opened but re-sealed in the neighbours shed when they weren't there when they were apparently delivered (neighbour is a keen gardener and tends to spot this kind of thing).

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Agreed. And they still want you put guitars in the hold.

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Re: Same here...

Mine threw it half way up the path. I came back at night and walked over it on the way home in the dark. Cheers mate..

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It'll not work in the real world

I've had my baggage felt up, by the Johannesburg baggage handlers, often enough. No one takes a look inside your case; rather they open it slightly and have a feel around. They're quite skilled, working entirely by feel; for example, they can locate a DVD box, and liberate the DVD, such that you may not notice immediately when you unpack. Locking the case doesn't work; they'll break the case or the lock, whichever is easier.

I learned the hard way that the best solution is the leave the case unlocked, with nothing worth pinching, though they will liberate still sometimes surprise me. Last time I transited through JNB, they liberated a bar of soap.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It'll not work in the real world

"they'll break the case or the lock, whichever is easier."

Doesn't even need that, allegedly a biro through the zip usually does the job, makes all the locks etc irrelevant.

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Re: It'll not work in the real world

Yes, I've heard of that one. I'm guessing the £300 Samsung case, they broke, must have been biro proof. That, of course, is the other lesson; if it's going to get broken, you might as well buy it cheap, from M&S or Primark.

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Unhappy

Re: It'll not work in the real world

@Jason, have you ever had your bags wrapped in plastic to try and prevent such occurances? Or does that incite the light-fingered ones to more baggage damage? Just wondering as I had mine wrapped done flying into Jo'burg and out of Cape Town and everything seemed to survive.

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Re: It'll not work in the real world

It's worth doing. In Southern Africa this is very commonly used. Personally, I prefer not to have anything worth liberating. This affects my choice of airline. BA, Air France and KLM are all good - they let you carry on a small case, plus a laptop bag. I avoid the big, Middle Eastern carriers (usually one piece, with a 7kg weight limit).

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FAIL

Nothing like placing a huge FRAGILE sign on something to ensure it receives the opposite treatment.

Looks like a fairly distinctive design, something that should stand out nicely as it enters the carousel system almost ensuring it receives the treatment it deserves (before being subjected to a controlled explosion as mentioned above).

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Rob

I'd be more impressed...

... if it was designed to jump off the baggage carousel and barge it's way past people, would save me having to do it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'd be more impressed...

You will need the one in sapient pearwood then - should also take care of thieves and anyone who attempts to inflict abuse upon it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'd be more impressed...

... if it was designed to jump off the baggage carousel and barge it's way past people, would save me having to do it.

Upvote, although I'd want one that unloads itself. If they have the biometrics thing working at Heathrow, my personal best for clearing passport checks is 27 seconds - after which I will spend half an hour waiting for my luggage...

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Years ago I was sent some photographs. The sender had written on the envelope "Photos - Do Not Bend". The envelope arrived with a big crease and the additional words "Yes They Do!"

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Having designer bags,

Is a sure way to have you luggage opened / tossed around.

Soft cheap suitcases are better for avoiding damage by handlers, and always wrap anything that isn't wearable inside of clothes in the center of the suitcase.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Having designer bags,

Having designer bags,

Is a sure way to have you luggage opened / tossed around.

Nah. You shouldn't buy designer bags unless you can afford the matching private jet..

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Hmmm...

"The Ericsson security suitcase has what is effectively a mobile phone built into it"

So no problem having it active during a flight then?

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The similar Trakdot thing mentioned in the article switches itself off when it detects itself as accelerating down a runway (or, presumably, flying through the air as a result of a baggage-handling-related accident). Presumably this would have something similar.

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Anonymous Coward

Lady in the first photo

Very cute. That is all :-)

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Re: Lady in the first photo

I bet she gets randomly picked for the TSA patdown EVERY TIME.

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Re: Lady in the first photo

Is part of the team which developed the electronics, not everyone who can use a soldering iron and IDE who has long hair also has a beard, sandals and an Iron Maiden T-shirt.

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I'm a bit confused

Sounds like something where a Raspberry Pi could usefully and cheaply do the same/a lot of the same job. Only without taking up half the case...

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Anonymous Coward

Please make sure

that you have switched off all electronic equipment in your hold luggage, as it may interfere with vital security systems. Should our scanning system detect any active device in your luggage, it will be removed, destroyed and, consequently, you will be refused entry in the plane. Have a safe journey (back home).

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Joke

Adventures of Crash Test Bag

Coming soon to cable TV

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How are they going to get the batteries in the hold?? I've had my bags taken to 'inspection' areas more than once because I had a few spare batteries in the case... all batteries have to be in hand luggage as far as I am aware .

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Anonymous Coward

Security

If this thing is very obviously a spycase it probably won't make the plane and will find itself on ebay

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Prior art

That suitcase has rounded corners. Ericsson's lawyer, meet Apple's lawyer.

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how much for the girl? 2 camel?

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No liability

Pitty airlines don't actually accept any liability for damage to your luggage during transit.

Otherwise being able to prove they mishandled it might actually be worth the effort and presumed expense.

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Meh, it's all standard these days

Standard suitcases already contain most of the required sensors for this sort of work. They contain plastic parts that fracture at a pre-determined impact to detect rough handling. They have bendable metal handles that detect excessive loads (just check to see whether the handle will still pull out when it arrives). They also have absorbent coverings to detect moisture and many will reveal contact with abrasive or sharp objects by ripping.

Of course, you can also install your own sensors internally; a cheap bottle of wine will reveal if the bag has been thrown around by imparting a red stain to your undergarments.

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Anonymous Coward

Just what the world needs, convert my luggage into a fire lighter

On the upside though, at least i'd find MH370 before the Aussies do

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Could be worse

In,1984 or so, my then-employer wanted to find out how much shock a planned laptop computer needed to withstand. One of our VP's, a Russian who'd escaped the USSR many years previously, was flying to the Far East on company business, and he was elected to carry a clockwork-accelerometer-instrumented briefcase. The way I heard things, he might have gotten less attention on that trip if our tech had not had a very strange sense of humor....

When our flyer's bag was X-rayed at the San Francisco airport there was of course nothing for it but to open the briefcase. As the tale reached me, that was when the trip became interesting. The tech who fitted the instrument had done a little more than specified; he'd painted dowels used to hold the accelerometer in place red, stenciled "DYNAMITE" on them and wrapped copper wire around the package to really make people nervous.

At that point, a Russian accent probably did not help.

It was apparently a long enough trip for a hot temper to cool, else the tech might have been dismembered by one very Mad Russian on his return, but he wasn't even fired. IIRC, this was the same tech who later (IIRC) came to work one week with his arms bandaged, having on a fishing trip needed >100 stitches after one night falling into a campfire full of broken beer bottles and passing out...

Ah, youth!

http://devilanse.wordpress.com/2009/11/20/nablopomo-wang-laptop/

http://www.vincentflanders.com/wang-laptop.html

And in the "How the mighty are fallen" department:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Wang-Laboratories-Vintage-Professional-Laptop-Floppy-Drive-Paper-Disks-Case-/291179730117?pt=US_Vintage_Computers_Mainframes&hash=item43cbaa14c5

No bids, four days to go and a minimum of just $50US.

But it was rugged! And as I can personally attest, it could take as much as 25kV of ESD.

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