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Expandable Backpack

Personal Space | Projects

  •         "The Expandable Backpack"  is a multifunctional backpack designed for the modern day student. "The Expandable Backpack" can not only be a student's traditional backpack but it can also pull out into a chair for those beautiful spring days when students decide to study outside. The bottom of the chair is a mat that can be rolled out from the bottom of the backpack. This provides the student a cushion from the hard ground while also keeping them dry in those cases of wet grass. Out of the top of the backpack comes an overhead pullout canopy that would not only protect students from the sun, but also provide their computer screen with shade making it easier to see. 

            The idea behind the canopy structure was to create a way for the structure to extend on multiple planes and also be able to refold back into a compact piece that would be able to fit into the top of a backpack. The structure took the whole two weeks of the studio to create but it was a sucess. The canopy uses a variation of the widley used and well known scissor strucutre along with different 3D printed connecting pieces that were built using rhino. 

     

  • Creating a personal space was the idea behind the project. Creating a personal space out of something ordinary was important in the brainstorming process. At college campuses throughout the country, students look to enjoy their surroundings while studying at the same time. Most students carry their books and notes to class via a backpack, which is an object that only serves one purpose. The opportunity for a backpack to serve more then one purpose for a student would provide them with a convenient way to enjoy the outdoors of their school. The backpack would not only carry books and school supplies but transform into a chair, allowing students to sit down on possibly muddy grass or even create their own shady spot to view a computer on a sunny day. The real benefit of the backpack is the capability of the chair to fully compress into the standard bag structure without large increases of weight or bulk. For this idea to become a reality, there would be lots of work involved to reach the overall goal. Once it became clear the immence work this project would involve, the focus turned to developing a piece of the backpack. 

    The focus of the project became the canaopy feature of the chair that would be capable of fully compressing as well as opening up to cover a lot of area. Immediately diving into research about large structures being able to condense, the scissor structure was a design that stood out. This simple structure, most people are familiar with appeared fairly simple and would allow for a lot of room for revision. 

    Although the scissor structure seemed simple, it became evident that it was a signifcantly more complex structure. Using the 3D modeling software Rhino simple scissor structures were laser cut at first. This allowed for a bettter hands on understanding of what the most simplistic version of the structure entailed. These simple versions of scissor structures were relatively cookie cutter. Every piece we cut was the same size with no differentiation. Changing the symmetry became the next focus after exploring the most basic scissor structure design that was printed via the laser cutter. 

    Once pieces were printed of different lengths and hole placement variations the scissor structure did transform slightly. The structure now had the capabilities of expanding on the x and y axis. This was an accomplishment but the arching feature of the canopy needed to be implemented. 

    This became a real challenge; creating curvature of the scissor structure seemed like a big bump in the road. After more research, the children's toy, the Hoberman sphere, seemed like it would serve as a good inspiration in developing a joint to create the arch the canopy needed. 

    After experimenting with the Hoberman sphere hands on, new ideas about creating a connecting joint started to flow. Using the Rhino software we added cut outs into the original pieces to have them connect a vertical and horizontal piece. The problem with this design was the limited capabilities these pieces allowed. It was an immediate transtition from vertical to horizontal whcih did not create the desired curvature. 

    A new piece had to be created to obtain this curvature we were looking for. Developing joints in Rhino to be 3D printed was the next goal. The design of these joints were spheres with slots within them that would allow for almost a full range of movement within the designated slots. Following the actual 3D printing of the object, it became evident the joint itself was covering too much area and was simply too big. The design was then scaled down and despite having most of the capabilities necessary it was still limiting in regards to compacting the strucutre. 

    After multiple times of trial and error with both making sure the sticks were just right, as well as adjusting the 3D printed sphere model a final design was created.  The joint created in the end was a 3D printed x like shape with holes on the end to allow for numerous connections. This structure ended up working because it was small enough that it would condense when the scissor structure condensed and it allowed for the curvature necessary in creating our canopy. This design would be perfect for our backpack and perfect in eventually assisting students with working while enjoying the outdoors.