TravelSmart - Internet of Things (IoT) System that Reminds Users to Pack Travel Items  

Pervasive Interaction Design Class

Member of UX Design Team

9/1/17 - 12/1/17

Overview

My team and I researched, designed, and developed TravelSmart. TravelSmart is an Internet of Things (IOT) system with an accompanying mobile app that is designed to ease, simplify, and remove the stress of packing for trips. Using the TravelSmart hub, located in the user's suitcase, the system will automatically remind users to pack the items they forget most. The user simply attaches Bluetooth stickers to the items they commonly forget, and the system alerts them when it has been forgotten, before they leave for their trips. Also, if users can't find a forgotten item, the system will alert them to the item's location.  

Problems

As a team, we felt that packing can be frustrating and create a lot of anxiety. We also had informal discussions with our peers to find out if they had similar feelings, which they did. Plus, we found that a Google search of “packing tips” yielded 53,000,000 results, meaning many other people want to improve their packing process. Based on this information, we realized this is a widespread problem for which we would like to design a solution.

User Research

To better understand the problem we were trying to solve, we conducted two different kinds of user research. We started with interviews and a diary study to understand how people normally pack for trips and what are the emotions associated with the activity.​

How do people prepare
& pack for a trip?
How do people feel when preparing & packing for a trip?
How do people interact with their luggage before, during, & after a trip?
Diary Study
Participants Recorded: Trip activity and interactions with luggage
Duration: 3 days before their trips; 2 days during 
User Interviews

For our interviews, we asked participants about the purpose of their travel and had them describe the process they followed and any obstacles they faced. We also asked about how they handled their luggage and about their interactions with it. In addition, we queried them to find out if they forgot certain items, how often they forgot them, and which items they forgot. 

Experience Prototyping 

We selected five scenarios to help us understand how the system would integrate into users' lives and provide enough value for users to use on a regular basis. We also wanted to know how much automation versus control users wanted in their packing process.

System Concept

Our product consists of two parts: the tracking hub and the stickers. After users apply the Bluetooth stickers to the items they typically forget and put the tracking hub in their suitcase, the system tracks these items. Once the suitcase is closed, users will be alerted if any items with the stickers have been forgotten.  

Key Features
Key Features

Create your own stickers and only track the items you need to track. 

See custom stickers that other people have created for similar activities.

Find items by activating a buzzer on your phone. 

Sync your calendar to get reminders and see your travel history.

Internet of Things (IoT) Prototype

To demonstrate our product, we created a prototype using Bluetooth sensors and buzzers. Using the MIT App Inventor, we created a sample Android application which used the phone's Bluetooth to communicate with several Adafruit Feather 32u4 Bluefruit LE which represented “stickered" items. For our demo, we did not implement the tracking hub due to time constraints, but in the commercial product, the tracking hub placed inside the suitcase would run a check when the suitcase lid is closed, and notify users of items they have not packed.

User Interface

The user interface has three primary functions: program a sticker to add a new item for tracking, alert the user when an item has been forgotten, and help the user locate an item that they cannot find. 

Scan Sticker to Track Item
App Tells User When Item Has Been Forgotten
Find Missing Item

Video of TravelSmart in Action

Research & Design for Good

© 2021 by Jill Meyerson