O-POMs is a modular networked wireless system for students who use motorized wheelchairs to manage access to their backpacks. O-POMs are the next evolution of iN-BaGs. The O-POM system consist of poms (radios) are attached zipper of each compartment of a backpack and a controller (remote) that provides the user the means to communication with each pom (radio) O-POMs are self contained devices that can be attached to any zipper on a standard backpack. An O-POM is casing housing a circuit and lithium battery that powers a radio. The O-POM is in sleep mode as long as switch is connected. The switch is a 1/8-inch mini audio jack. The Cases is attached to the backpack. The plug part of the audio jack is attached to the zipper. When the zipper is pulled open it disconnects the plug and activates the O-POM. The pom lights up to indicate that the backpack’s compartment is open. The corresponding button on the control lights up so the user knows that a pouch is open.

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The user can also push a button on the controller to light up the corresponding O-POM on the backpack. This allows the user to indicate which pouch they would like to be opened.

Why the Evolution?

The precursors to O-POMs are the iN-BaGs that is a series of networked pouches that a user filled with items and put in their backpack. The bags assisted with organization of the backpack but because they are inside the backpack they did not solve the problem of backpack being left open. It became clear that two components should be separated.

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Pouches are created of various sizes and materials. They have a clear plastic slot on each side. In the slot the student can insert an image of their choice. This provides the student with a way to personalize their bags. Once student used pictures of their favorite jazz musicians.


O-POMs are the networked wireless radio system that provides a way for the students to indicate which section of their backpack the teacher may access. It also provides a notification if a compartment on the backpack is not properly closed.

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Roles: Designer, Project Manger and User Testing 2007 – 2008 Collaborators: Amit Pitaru and Owen Osborn (Circuit Designer and Engineer) Funding: Interactive Telecommunications Program Social Justice Grant 2007