Airbnb is working on a concept for a “beam modem” device that could someday help travelers without Internet access or cell service navigate the unconnected world, according to a new patent filed this week.
Traveling outside the country without paying for cellular data is possible, but it’s annoying. The harder it is to find a decent Wi-Fi signal, or the more expensive SIM cards and data plans are in the place you’re visiting, the more annoying it can be. But Airbnb might be working on a solution.
According to a patent application published this week, the company’s “design studio” is working on concept for a device that will help travelers with limited or no access to Wi-Fi or cell networks by downloading lightweight, essential information about their trips, like maps and messages.
“When traveling in an area in which network connection is unavailable or unreliable or in which network connection is prohibitively expensive or inconvenient, the system … allows a client device … to connect to external web services without a direct network connection,” the filing says.
One of the Airbnb employees named on the patent application, Alex Blackstock, published a photo on LinkedIn that looks a lot like the drawings in the patent filing, CBInsights pointed out in a blog post yesterday.