Smart bag demonstrates everyday application of IoT technology

Researchers from Deakin University have developed an everyday, consumer-focused application for smart sensing technology.

The researchers have invented a “smart” schoolbag, using internet of things (IoT) technologies and an array of sensors.

Functionalities of the bag include the ability to send alerts to students, parents and teachers when the bag does not include items essential for a day of learning.

“A mobile application developed in this project lets parents see the items in the bag and automatically checks them off against the timetable, identifying what is missing and notifies parents if anything else needs to be packed,” said designer Dr Hamid Abdi.

The bag can be calibrated with a student’s timetable, so that it contains the correct books, lunch items and sports gear.

“At the same time we wanted to minimise the weight of the bag to reduce the discomfort children experience carrying a heavy load on their backs and shoulders,” said Abdi.

Using radio frequency identification (RFID) tags to detect items in the bag, the researchers have demonstrated how the technologies that are encapsulated under the IoT can be readily applied to novel concepts.

“We think the smart schoolbag will save a lot of time and stress that occurs when homework, hats or lunches are left home by mistake, especially if that requires parents to quickly race home to collect the missing item,” said Abdi.

The researchers are currently looking for commercial partners to get the bag onto shelves, and with a prototype already designed, the team believe that the bag and accompanying smart phone application could retail for between $125 and $150.

Using these technologies has allowed the team’s product to be adapted to all types of existing school bags, reducing the barrier to entry.

While IoT technologies are often associated with technical or complex applications, the construction of the school bag demonstrates how manufacturers can incorporate sensors and identification technology into everyday products.