RFID handbag makes you less forgetful

University students create bag that uses radio frequency tags to detect missing items.

RFID tags have a reputation for being a little creepy.

The idea of inserting radio frequency identification tags in national identification cards has raised the ire of American privacy advocates, for instance. But RFID has a plethora of helpful purposes: it can also aid in efficiency, and prevent theft, as in when RFID devices are fastened to clothing and accessories in stores.

LadyBag
A drawing of the RFID-enhanced handbag prototype. Project LadyBag

But some Canadian universities students have come up with a fun and even fashionable spin on RFID technology: a bag that tells you when all of your necessary accoutrements--keys, cell phone, wallet--are accounted for. It's part of their project called LadyBag.

The project has been underway for a couple years, but the wearable-electronics blog Talk2MyShirt unearthed it this morning. The project, run by six women, has several prototypes in progress. RFID tags can be placed in items that simply can't be left out of the bag (umbrella, keys, makeup bag, iPhone, or whatever). The LadyBag's RFID tracking system detects when something isn't in the bag that you've told it should be.

But the project isn't just an exercise in technology, it's also part art project. As a bonus, the bag uses a sensor system and 96 LEDs (light-emitting diodes) to display seven different emoticons when users interact with it. For example, hugging the bag results in a happy face lighting up on the outside of the bag.

There's no reason this technology has to be in a handbag. Put it in a backpack or a messenger bag...I know plenty of men who can never remember where they last put their wallet.

About the author

Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur. E-mail Erica.

 

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