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interactive backpacks

Using different forms of communication, a pair of stuffed animal backpacks for girls ages 5-7 will reinforce the feeling of friendship between them. The forms of communication are chosen to make communication possible before, during, and after seeing your friend. Wireless communication between backpacks will allow one to see if the other is nearby. When the friends are together they can connect the backpacks so that they hold hands which will cause their hearts to light up. When parting, one can whisper in the ear of their friends backpack, leaving secret messages for their friend to listen to at a later time.

This project is a DESIGN for young girls ages 5-7


interactive backpacks


IRA - research / documentation / making circuits

LIZ - research / documentation / illustrations

SHANNON - illustrations / making circuits / construction

Week 1: Research / survey girls / finalize idea / character design

Week 2: final character design / gather materials / make wireless circuit

Week 3: patterns for backpacks / recording circuit

Week 4: 1st backpack made / heart light circuit

Week 5: 2nd backpack made / install all electronics

Week 6: fix any issues / finish documentation

Week 7: combine all documentation / publish to website and blog



Shannon interviewed 5 girls ages 6-8 to gain information to help finalize the project idea. [Caitlyn and Lisa (age 6, best friends), Angela (7), and Michelle (8)]

Made age range slightly younger (5-7)

Decided on Pandas for the animal (mainly from positive response to midterm project) Lisa had “littlest pet shop” panda toys

Wireless feature was exciting to them because they saw it as a compared it to cell phones.

Their favorite after seeing the panda purses was that they could hold hands and hearts light up.


Lisa is getting teased by Mike and John

She presses the ear of her Bestie to get Caitlyn’s attention from across the playground.


Caitlyn comes over and pulls Lisa away so they can go eat lunch.

Their Besties sit next to them and hold hands.



LIZs link to animal backpacks

IRAs research

4-Ever Best Friend dolls

one strap backpacks

wireless “spookies”



SHANNONs research

Surveying the girls

Further reading on “spookies”

Character design research:

Good pandas Bad Pandas



  • making the wireless circuit
  • - what will the range be?
  • buying purple and pink fur fabric
  • will the radio shack recording module work through fabric, will this be adequate for a prototype?