On my own time throughout my sophomore and junior year of college I decided to create a carbon fiber backpack for bicyclist and motorcyclists to become more visible, keep their items safe, and have a modern luxury aesthetic. The project did not start there, but grew as I learned from prototypes and as my skills enhanced.
At first I went for a triangular backpack made out of shiny acrylic. Although this looked great, it was fragile and was hard to put things in. This taught me about the fit and the specific qualities I wanted in my own backpack.
As I designed the second version, I worked to integrate the electronics into the backpack. There is a normal battery pack that sends power to the LEDs and microcontroller. The microcontroller receives input from the bluetooth module and outputs different patterns to the LEDs strips. Since the LED strips are seperately controlled, the code must address each individually and in sync. The bluetooth transmitter was inbedded into a snap-braclet to be able to put on any handlebar.
After the first prototype. I went back to the drawing board and listen the criteria that I wanted for myself. After this I took my knowledge from the multiple carbon fiber lay-ups I did previously and came to a more rectangular shape. This precisely fit my laptop and a couple of notebooks, was right against my back with plenty of soft padding, and was as slim as could be. I also enhanced the LEDs into a triangle to give a larger visual area to be more visible have be able to have other programs for other situations. I used this backpack for the semester; it gave me such pride that something I dreamed up, I could build, iterate, and build again to something I would be proud to wear and built well enough that I could use it everyday.