Self-editing is overrated. Or is it?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Now, I am not a woman but...

...if I was, I would be all over this.

Discovery News is reporting on a new kind of fabric purse that can detect its contents and alert the owner when something is missing.

The Ladybag, aimed at young professional women, could put an end to leaving the house without the cell phone, house keys, or wallet.

"We are a group of six women on the team. We came up with the bag idea because we thought that all of us would use it," said team member Ginny Mesina, a senior at Canada's Simon Fraser University.

Mesina and the team, including Sherry Li, Nasrin Roya, Huma Zaidi, Lillian Tam, and Jenny Vi, developed the idea as part of a course project, which placed students from the university's interactive arts degree and the information technology degree together.

To design the purse, the students used off-the-shelf technology. Into the bottom of the bag they embedded a radio frequency identification reader, which is powered by a nine-volt battery.

They wired the reader to a screen-like panel in the front of the bag, which contains three patterns of light-emitting diodes.

Each pattern is an icon representing an essential item that the owner does not want to leave home without. In the prototype, these items are a set of keys, a wallet, and a cell phone.

Lastly, they attached an RFID sensor to each of those items.

As long as each item is missing from the Ladybag, its corresponding icon lights up. As the keys, phone, and wallet are each placed into the tote, the icon blinks off.

"I always forget my phone, but always remember my handbag. This is a great solution," said industrial designer Rosanna Kilfedder, a master's degree candidate at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland.


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