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Amazon’s got a brand new bag: This one’s adjustable to carry hot and cold items

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Amazon’s newly patented concept for a convertible delivery bag has internal insulated panels that can be adjusted to accommodate hot and cold items for a single delivery. There’s even a drink holder, indicated as item 128. (Amazon Illustration via USPTO)

Insulated bags for pizza deliveries and cooler bags for ice-cold drinks are nothing new. But how about if you put them together? Amazon’s inventors thought the idea was novel enough to apply for a patent, and now they’ve gotten it.

The patent application, titled “Convertible Food Delivery Bag With an Adjustable Divider,” describes a delivery bag that has a system of magnetic strips, Velcro-style strips or sliders on the bag’s interior.

Panels of insulating material can be moved around inside the bag to create compartments of adjustable sizes, to secure a cold drink snugly or provide enough room for the hot bucket of chicken nestled in the bag compartment next to it. The patent application even provides for built-in drink holders.

The idea is to scale up the pizza-bag concept for bigger deliveries, combining hot and cold items and thus addressing a need that the inventors say is currently going unmet. Here’s how they explain the bag gap in their application, filed in 2016 and published today:

“Some restaurants deliver food in plastic or paper bags, which are inefficient at maintaining the food at a relatively hot or cold temperature. When using plastic or paper bags, the food temperature quickly moves towards the surrounding environment temperature during the delivery since plastic and paper bags do not provide efficient thermal insulation. Many pizza delivery companies use thermally insulated bags specifically made to transport pizzas, but these bags are ineffective at delivering other types of food items. In addition, these pizza bags include only a single internal compartment or cavity.”

If Amazon builds a better insulated food-delivery bag, will the world beat a path to the company’s door? Will Amazon’s “blue crew” of delivery agents be carrying these bags as they beat a path to your door? That’s hard to say: Amazon typically doesn’t comment on its patents unless and until a new product is released, and the mere fact that a patent has been issued is no guarantee that Amazon will follow through. The smartphone airbag invented by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is a case in point.

Frankly, an adjustable hot-cold delivery bag sounds a lot less crazy than the airbag, or other Amazon ideas such as underwater fulfillment centers or drone hives. Come to think of it, why not make the bags waterproof, with built-in airbags for drone delivery drops?

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