Is Your Backpack Killing You? Hack it! #WearableWednesday #wearabletech #Arduino #tech #DIY
Recently while waiting in a train station I noticed how many people were carrying huge stuffed backpacks. The packs were so full they appeared to be two packs thick and you could just imagine what kind of damage they would do over time. Of course I’m guilty of carrying my own heavy laptop in a messenger bag clearly denting my shoulder, and what about all the young kids carrying their mega packs daily to school? That’s why this Smart Backpack by Chathuranga Liyanage got my attention on Hackster.io. The project is based on some interesting data:
According to the United States Product Safety Commission, in 2013 nearly 22,200 students were treated for injuries caused by backpacks. The main reason for this is using backpacks in an improper way.
That’s enough to scare anyone in regards to health-care costs, as well as lost time at school. So, Chathuranga created a backpack that fights poor decision-making using sensors and alarms to warn the wearer of danger.
Using an Arduino 101 and three Force Sensitive Resistors (FSRs), the pack looks at the force on either shoulder strap as well as force on the lower back. Once calibrated, the pack is able to detect an unbalanced load, excess weight on the shoulders, excess weight on the lumbar region and an unsafe angle (bad posture). Each of these alarms has a different tone, so the wearer is able to understand the issue. Another nice touch to the project is the mobile app that was designed using Blynk, which allows users to perform calibration, set body weight and even locate the backpack.
Although this project is DIY, I can definitely see the potential for a ready-made retail version as a lot of parents have concerns over their children’s heavy books. Force sensitive resistors found in this project are also making their way into wearable tech for medical devices, so check out our sweet FSR learning guide. You can hack your pack or invent a device that helps to protect the body—think of the possibilities in sports.
Adafruit has had paid day off for voting for our team for years, if you need help getting that going for your organization, let us know – we can share how and why we did this as well as the good results. Here are some resources for voting by mail, voting in person, and some NY resources for our NY based teams as well. If there are additional resources to add, please let us know – adafruit.com/vote
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !
Over the last couple of years I’ve been migrating towards ’13"’ and at-most ’15"’ (laptop) backpacks for daily use – their smaller size rides higher on my back where my strength is, putting less stress on my lower back, and therefore doesn’t ‘sag’ as much. Generally speaking the bag is rarely full and therefore plenty light, up high. My older, larger backpacks just seem so overbearing and unnecessary now by comparison.
Maybe put the FSR sensor pads on a harness that kids could sling their backpack over to measure the weights / pressures? Schools could have one harness so the kids could check their backpack.