A everyday situation: you are too late, dump everything in your bag, rush to your first appointment of the day and then it hits you: forgot the cell-phone or keys or wallet, iPod or Blackberry you name it, all the essential stuff we need for our daily survival in the digital and real world.
Our gadgets are getting smaller and until all those function are integrated in our clothing we have to double check before leaving the house.
Truly intelligent clothing might not be ready for another few years but a group of students at Canada’s Simon Fraser University has invented a handbag that tells if something is missing in the bag before hitting the road.
The six women behind this fabulous idea are: Ginny Mesina, Sherry Li, Nasrin Roya, Huma Zaidi, Lillian Tam and Jenny Vi.
The project called ‘LadyBag‘ is using RFID technology to detect items in the bag. If something is missing the LadyBag will show the items icon on the LED display on the outside of the LadyBag.
To let the bag know what it should look for each item to be tracked needs an RFID tag insert or attach to it. Such RFID tags are very common today, you can find them on virtually all items in shops. In case you forget to pay for an item you will hear an alarm going off the moment you attempt to leave the shop.
The same principle is used in the LadyBag, just the other way around: if something is not inside the bag when leaving home the display on the bags outside will show what is missing inside. Cool, very cool idea.
But the ladies in Canada didn’t stop with the ‘don’t forget me’ feature for a LadyBag and added another interactive element to the bag: emotions.
The LED display on the outside of the bag reflects the user’s emotional state through the display of emoticons. Emotional state is determined through the interactions with the bag that are registered through physical sensors.
Hugging the sides, the bag’s display will show a happy face emoticon. Fiddling with the zipper shows a nervous emoticon.
This team has done a fabulous job in their project and all the project material is available online on the LadyBag project site. A wealth of information starting from user insight studies to idea generation and prototyping.
The LadyBag project has been published almost two years ago and I am surprised that this great idea has not been taken up by someone from the industry to work on a commercial product.