Ashley Marie Quinn, Interaction Designer


kit. is a connected backpack and navigation system for hiking and exploring. My classmates, Shelly and Steve, and I set out to find out what the needs and opportunities would be for this use case and quickly realized that hiking was a meditative retreat for a lot of people, but there was also desire to continue that feeling once they returned to their everyday lives. While on the trail you want to feel in the moment, not checking your phone or putting other technologies between you and the world around you. I also realized solutions for utilitarian needs like keeping track of pacing, supplies, and weather updates were hard to come by.

To that end we created kit. – a system of lightweight technological bits that are present when the user needs them, but otherwise fade away so as not to disrupt the experience of enjoying the natural wonders around them. Button-sized cameras are attached to the backpack or apparel to passively record the experience, meanwhile visitors at home can follow along on the journey through the kit. website. By pressing a button on the camera a marker will be placed in the recording, marking it as an important place to remember. When the hiker returns home, they can revisit their experience with the click of a button.

A small e-ink tag attached to the backpack will provide the hiker with useful information like directions, weather updates, and popular lookouts. Biometric sensors embedded in the back of the pack monitor the hiker’s health, notifying them of edits to their pace or suggesting moments to rest. The entire system is charged by solar panels attached to the pack.

At the end of the day, we recognize that not everyone wants technology with them while they are hiking, but as we continue down this road of connectedness and quantified self, I believe that perception will change. More people will want to quantify and visualize their experiences, and of course, share this with their loved ones.

Project Details

Completed: Spring 2013 | Class: Prototyping User Experience, Prof Joshua Musick, Clay Weidemann, Jeff Hoefs | Team: Shelly X Ni, Steve Faletti | Digital Prototype: KIT. | Project Tags: Interaction Design, Physical Prototyping, SVA MFA IxD