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The Handbag of the Future

Smart BagMillions of women around the globe are all too familiar with the problem: they search and search in the endless depths of their own handbags; but mobile phones, pocketbooks and their lipsticks of choice are simply not to be found.

JOANNEUM RESEARCH and freaquent froschelectronics GmbH decided to take on this problem and have found a smart and innovative solution.


A handbag often contains its own parallel universe. Sometimes like a first-aid kit, sometimes more like a goody bag full of tricks – a purse and its contents often remain a mystery to their very owner. Trying to find anything in there in the moment when you need it most can often seem like mission impossible. That is, until now.

Desperate rummaging through handbags – which, by the way, consumes some seventy six days of the average woman’s life – should, in the future, be a thing of the past. With the Smart Bag – developed by JOANNEUM RESEARCH in cooperation with freauquent froschelectronics GmbH – all the contents of your handbag can be neatly cataloged.

Credited with the initial idea of developing the Smart Bag, Robert Möstl of Joanneum Research explains how it works. “Every object in the Smart Bag – whether it be a driver’s license, headache medication, a mobile phone, etc. – is marked with an RFID tag. An integrated RFID reading device built into the Smart Bag can then be used to scan the contents and generate a detailed inventory list at any given time.” According to Möstl, the integrated reading device developed by freaquent froschelectronics GmbH – a company based in Graz, Austia –  is especially interesting not only because it is compact enough to be integrated into a handbag but also because it can be accessed via Bluetooth.

In addition to the tags and their corresponding reading device, the use of a specially developed Android Smartphone application allows the contents of the Smart Bag to be cataloged specifically. Once the app is installed on a Smartphone, ongoing communication with the handbag can be maintained via Bluetooth. Using the app, a specific object can be assigned each day, enabling the owner to generate a piece list for the entire contents of a handbag.

Möstl goes on to describe the advantages of the system. “It also enables the owner to put together an ideal configuration for each individual bag. The owner can determine what absolutely has to be in the bag and, at the push of a button, check to see if he or she really has everything that he or she needs.”

Of course, ladies’ handbags represent but one possible use for Smart Bag technology. It would also be conceivable to implement the system in travel luggage, in laptop bags, or in conjunction with equipment used by emergency response organizations. “We’re planning, for example, talks with mountain rescue services,” explains Alexander Stocker, a co-developer of the Smart Bag. “They could use Smart Bag technology to keep track of their life-saving utensils.”

In the next phase of the Smart Bag project, we are on the lookout for marketing partners to help us bring this smart solution onto the market successfully. The technological basis for the Smart Bag and its various possible applications has already been established. A prototype of the innovative idea was presented at the second RFID-Hotspot event in Graz, Austria.