Rice Design for America
Design Innovation for Social Good

West U Backpacks

Team Backpack


We've got your back(pack).


The Team:

Meghana Chilukuri is a junior studying Computer Science and Mathematics. She's from India and loves coffee, watching trashy TV shows, painting, learning about languages and culture, but most of all, sleeping.

Iris Gau is a lover of puns, programming, the human brain, design, traveling, and novelty socks. She is a junior studying computer science and cognitive science, fascinated by the intersection of humans and technology. You can find Iris drawing, watching movies, at a science museum, or building an ergonomic backpack.

Samuel Spitz is a freshman studying Mathematical Economic Analysis with interests in finance and investment banking. He loves playing sports, making music, and stimulating intellectual conversation.

David Moon is an ethnic Korean from the land of Middle-Earth (New Zealand), David is an avid fan of baseball, black t-shirts and sneakers. As a senior Material Science and Nanoengineering major, he is fascinated by the smallest of details. Catch him secretly watching Spongebob in the library, munching on too much Taco-Bell, or making a sick backpack! (Preferably black)

Stacy Su is a funky archie. 

The Project:

Fall 2017, West U elementary school approached us with the problem of disorganization in the classroom. After site-visits and user-interviews, we found that this problem was rooted in student/teacher immobility, with classrooms cluttered with excess of materials and organizers that students needed to carry. After two semesters, we designed and created a prototype of a backpack with a kickstand and filing system, to provide space efficiency of standing upright, and internal organization. See our Archived Project page for past semesters' work.

This semester, we are seeking to delve into designing and creating a user-centered test suite. 



Our team discussed big-picture about what we hope to accomplish by the end of this semester.  Consolidating problem spaces, we found that with our current prototype and reviewing last semester's test results, we still had the following issues and questions to tackle:

  • Material and how it affects comfort and durability
  • Optimizing internal space and organization
  • It's trying to solve too many problems at once
  • Is the kickstand the best way to go?

We then narrowed down our problem spaces and decided on a HCW:

How can we modify aspects of the current design to reduce noise for our testing prototype?