The Easy Reach Bookbag

Designers: Auriel August, Ophelia Chua, Jesse Liu, Kartik Pawar

Supervising Professor: Larry Bohs

Photo of the Easy Reach Bookbag

Figure 1: The Easy Reach Bookbag


Our client, a 13-year-old student with TAR syndrome, typically requires assistance carrying his books, laptop, and other supplies around school. The Easy Reach Bookbag is pulled behind the user and stands independently at a height that is comfortably accessible. The bag is easily removed, and the device fully collapses, making it easy to transport. The Easy Reach Bookbag allows the client to move his school supplies independently, and to store and retrieve supplies comfortably and without external assistance.


The Easy Reach Bookbag allows our client to perform daily school tasks independently. School materials are raised to the ideal height for the client while seated at a desk. Because the device collapses to 2’x2’x1’, it is easy to transport and store. The client commented: “a perfect height for my desk and it fits my laptops and book just the way I wanted.


The Easy Reach Bookbag (Figure 1) includes a modified messenger bag (Timbuk2) and a modified handtruck frame (Magna Cart).

Modifications to the messenger bag include an internal structure, an internal item platform and a folder divider. The 9” x 16” x 4”internal structure holds the bag open and is made from two heat-bent HDPE (high-density polyethylene) pieces attached by L-brackets. The HDPE item platform (9”-8.75” x 3.75” x 0.25”) is braced against the internal frame by a triangle bracket and connected by Velcro for easy removal. The commercial folder divider (11.5” x 12.75” x 3.63”) allows easy organization of supplies. The messenger bag is held closed and open using Velcro, which is easy for the client to operate.

Modifications to the handtruck frame include a base support and handlebar extensions, two U-shaped aluminum brackets and a caster wheel (2” diameter) on the base. The caster wheel has a locking mechanism to prevent rolling when the user desires.

The base support comprises an attachment to the handtruck (4” x 5.5”), a horizontal flap for the bag (12” x 8” x 0.5”), a front flap (12” x 9.25” x 10.25” x 0.5”) and an L-bracket (2” x 2” x 0.25”), all made from black HDPE. The horizontal flap supports the messenger bag.  An L-bracket on the front of the horizontal flap helps hold the bag in place. The front flap has an arch cut-out of 3” in diameter, with the apex of the arch measuring 5.5”. The ends of the front flap arch are beveled to rest securely within two aluminum U-brackets (2.5”x 0.75” x 0.75”) mounted on the base of the handtruck frame, holding the horizontal shelf upright.   Hinges attach the horizontal flap to the frame, and the front flap to the horizontal flap, allowing the device to easily collapse

Client walking in the school hallway with the Easy Reach Bookbag

Figure 2: Client walking in the school hallway with the Easy Reach Bookbag

The handlebar extensions comprise two friction hinges, two stopper pieces (1.5” x 1.75” x 0.5”), two height adjustment pieces (8” x 1.75” x 0.25”), two extension pieces (15” x 1.75” x 0.25”) and a backing piece for the backpack straps (10.5” x 6.5” x 0.25” with a 1.5” perpendicular bend at the top), all made from HDPE. The backpack straps can be repositioned to accommodate the client’s growth by repositioning the extension and height adjustment pieces using two screws.  The entire mechanism retracts and folds, using the friction hinges and spring loaded height-adjustment mechanism of the handtruck, for storage and transport. Padding on the top bend of the backing piece aids client comfort.

Figure 2 shows the client making a right turn in the school hallway. The replacement cost of the device is about $315.

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