Mental Floss

This Scanner Makes Packing (and Unpacking) Boxes a Breeze

Beth Anne Macaluso

Just when you think the worst of your move is over—the truck has pulled away, your furniture is (hopefully) in place—it’s time to unpack. And celebrate! But wait—where’s the bottle opener again? And how, exactly, are you supposed to open all of these boxes when you can’t remember which one you threw the scissors in?

A team of students from Carnegie Mellon knows exactly where all that stuff is. Or rather, a device they created does. Argo is a handheld scanner that uses a fancy camera to catalog each item as you pack it, in order to make unpacking a whole lot less stressful.

The scanner sits on the edge of a box while you place items inside, creating lists. Once a box is full, the scanner dispenses a special tape with a scannable tag attached. When these tags are scanned, you’ll be able to use a tablet to view a pop-up inventory of every item inside a given box.

Argo isn’t yet available to the general public, but Ford, the team’s corporate partner, tells Fast Company that the company is paying close attention to the project, and may eventually use what it's learned for future development or investment initiatives.

Till then, pass the Sharpie, would you?

[h/t Fast Company