Inspiration

Our initial idea originated from accidents that occurred in Gabrielle’s neighborhood, where people crossed railroad tracks without paying attention and got hit by a train. These incidents made us think about different situations where accidents can occur because a person is not attentive while being surrounded by moving vehicles. Hence, we considered potential situations such as joggers wearing earphones, people with hearing or visual disabilities, cyclists, pedestrians on their phones, seniors, children, airport workers and people working in parking lots. With all these different groups of people in mind, and with our design and ideas progressing, we gradually converged towards focusing on a product for pedestrians with a visual disability.

What it does

The light sensor on the Adafruit Circuit Playground Express alerts the wearer of oncoming vehicles by detecting their headlights and producing a high pitch sound.

How we built it

We started by pattern drafting the bag, using our own cosmetic bags as models. We then sewed the bag in brushed denim fabric. No webbing buckle was available so we 3D printed it. Meanwhile, a group member did the coding for the light sensor. Initially, we wanted to include the sensor in between the fabric and the lining of the smaller pocket, but we realized the fabric was too thick. Instead, we included the Adafruit Circuit Playground and the battery in a small design detail on the front of the bag.

Challenges we ran into

Since all the group members are fashion design students, we do not have experience with coding and developing wearable technologies. As a result, we had to change our ideas many times to simplify the technological aspect of our product. Initially, our goal was to create a bag with a proximity sensor that would trigger vibrations in the bag. It would have been accessible to a wider range of customers such as people with a hearing disability. The vibrations would also only alert the wearer and be very discreet. We simplified our product because we did not have the knowledge to program this functionality. Furthermore, we did not know how to draft and sew bags, so we had to figure it out based on the bags we had with us.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Our greatest accomplishment was that we successfully incorporated technology into our design. Moreover, we are proud that we were able to construct a bag from scratch with limited knowledge about accessory design. We were also able to do rational problem solving such as 3D printing the buckle as well as the thickness of the fabric covering the sensor. We had a great team dynamic and we were able to manage our time efficiently and use all our group members' skills to accomplish the various tasks.

What we learned

We learned about the different applications of coding and how to put them into use. We also designed our first accessory and used a 3D printer for the first time. This event opened our eyes to the many options and tools that help create wearable technology. We also pushed our boundaries to create something we didn't know we were capable of.

What's next

Our project could be applied to other markets and customers. For instance, we could make garments that would give a warning about incoming vehicles to joggers wearing earphones, people with hearing or visual disabilities, cyclists, pedestrians on their phones, seniors, children, airport workers and people working in parking lots. Furthermore, if we had more experience with coding and wearable technology, or if we were working with someone with that experience, we could develop a product that utilizes proximity sensors instead of light sensors to detect the vehicle itself. If this product was going to be manufactured, we decided that it could be made using recycled material.

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