Robo-Rucksack: Six-Year-Old Designs Talking 'Smart Backpack'

Little James Scowcroft, who lives in Bolton, Manchester England, had a better idea for a backpack.


(Smart backpack as worn by James Scowcroft)

Scowcroft entered his idea in a national contest for young inventors sponsored by the Manchester Museum of Science. Imagine his surprise when he was presented with a prototype model on a subsequent visit!

The smart backpack (or "robo-rucksack" as they call them in the UK) has antennae and recording equipment. The unique feature of the backpack is that it gives him audio reminders of the important parts of his busy daily schedule.

Scowcroft explains it this way:

“It says, ‘Have you got your homework?’, ‘Have you got your dinner money?’, ‘Have you got your books?’. It’s something to remind me when I forget stuff.”

When asked where he got the idea, he replied "I got it from my brain... it's full of ideas."

This device is basically a portable version of what Frank Herbert called a "daily schedule" (DS) in his 1977 novel The Dosadi Experiment:

The Daily Schedule began playing to McKie as he emerged from the bath...

"Good morning, ser," it fluted.
(Read more about Herbert's daily schedule)

The next thing Scowcroft needs to do is contact Lawrence Rome at the University of Pennsylvania, and take advantage of Rome's backpack generator, which harnesses the power of walking; that way, he'll be the first kid in the UK with a self-charging, smart backpack.

Via Times Online.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/10/2007)

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