GPS-enabled Bag Allows For Carefree City Roaming


[Josh] was looking for a way to enjoy exploring the city of Chicago safely, and hacked together a messenger bag navigation system to ensure he always knew where he was going.

While riding, he wanted to embrace the idea of Dérive, but he felt that he was being too overly conscious of time as well as his location, which took all the fun out of his unplanned excursions. Having recently been “doored” by a car, he was also looking for a way to help him navigate the city streets without being overly distracted with finding his way around.

His “Map Bag” solves both of these problems for him, without being obtrusive. He fit a messenger bag with a LilyPad Arduino and a GPS receiver for keeping track of his location. The Arduino can constantly monitor speed, heading, and location, directing [Josh] to his destination by vibrating one of 8 shaftless motors that are installed throughout the bag’s chest strap. Now while he rides, he can take in the city’s atmosphere while also knowing that he will get exactly where he needs to – on time.

He does not have any source code or schematics on his site as of yet, but we hope to see some in the near future. If you are interested, check out the videos of the bag’s construction embedded below.

[vimeo w=470]

[vimeo w=470]

6 thoughts on “GPS-enabled Bag Allows For Carefree City Roaming

  1. cool idea with the motors. I’m making myself a gps data logger with arduino, all I can say is that getting data from the gps is not the most difficult part, the difficult part is using the data.

  2. I know where I live that there is a website with a Google Maps layer that shows crimes and big crime spots. If there’s one for Chicago (and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were) it’d be worth it to integrate this into his system. Perhaps if he were to parse the site’s GPS coordinates then have it create areas that would trigger an “alarm” in his mapbag, i.e. three buzzes to let him know he’s in a not-all-together safe area. I know downtown Chicago is pretty safe, but I’m not sure how far he’s riding. Also gives it useful expansion in case he takes it to another city (like Atlanta where you’d get three buzzes every 50 feet).

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