The Chameleon Bag is an interactive messenger bag with a reactive front panel. I wanted the bag to display animations and patterns across its front flap as the user places different RFID-tagged objects into it, and I accomplished this by combining a Boarduino microcontroller and an RFID reader inside the bag, along with 49 RGB LEDs on its front flap.

Designed into the coding are three specific uses, with potential for more. First, the bag keeps track of the RFID-tagged items placed inside and warns the user through light displays if an important item, such as keys or cellphone, is missing. Alternately, the lights can change color to match clothing or accessories embedded with RFID tags. And finally, it can be programmed to display cheery animations when a favorite totem with an RFID tag is placed in the bag, enabling the user to share her good mood with the people around her. Since the user has access to the microcontroller, she can code additional uses to change the colors and animations of the display.


  • Time Required: 6–8 Hours
  • Cost: $180–$200