Forgotten something? Deakin engineers invent a 'smart' schoolbag

Media release

12 July 2019

The days of students 'forgetting' their homework may soon be over as Deakin engineers develop a new generation of schoolbag that can complete its own morning check-list.

The smart schoolbag, designed by Deakin School of Engineering researchers, comes with built-in hardware and software that works to ensure it is packed correctly for each day's timetable, including books, lunch and sports gear.

It also has the capability to send content alerts by smartphone to students, parents and even teachers.

The schoolbag can tell when items are not required and should be left home, ensuring the bag is no heavier than it needs to be.

Designed by Dr Hamid Abdi, and Masters students Jayadev Ajayakumar, Naga Venkata Durga Surendra Anna and Lahiru Abeysekara, the smart school bag uses radio frequency identification (RFID) tags to detect items in the bag and the Internet of Things (IOT) technology to check its contents against the daily school plan.

"We know packing the school bag each morning can be difficult, especially for younger kids, because the timetable changes daily and each day they need to pack different things," Dr Abdi said.

"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.

"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.

"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.

"With a smart schoolbag, children won't need to leave everything in their bag every day. The system helps them pack only what is needed that day and not worry about forgetting something the next day."

While the system can be fitted to any school bag, Dr Abdi and his team have designed a prototype smart schoolbag that includes the smart phone application and could retail for between $125 and $150, making it an affordable option for many families.

"We are now at the demonstration stage and looking for commercial partners to take this project to the next level," Dr Abdi said.

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