What's in My Bag

What’s in my bag? — Carla Diana


What's in my bag? issue #86

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Carla Diana runs the tech-focused 4D Design 2-year MFA Program at Cranbrook Academy of Art and is always looking for smart, creative techies who want to be part of it. She is the author of LEO the Maker Prince and has a new book coming out this March called My Robot Gets Me: How Social Design Can Make New Products More Human. She is the Head of Design for Diligent Robotics and cohosts the Robopsych Podcast. You can always find her at www.carladiana.com or on Instagram @carladiana.


About the bag

Mark Ryden Anti-Theft Backpack: it’s roomy, fits a laptop easily, has a compartment for a battery pack that can link up to a usb port on the outside of the bag, a comfy handle, lots of pockets, and an “anti-theft” compartment that is on the side of the backpack that goes against your back to avoid pickpocketing.

What’s inside the bag

The Pixycam is an inexpensive camera that can be hooked up to a microcontroller/robotics platform like Arduino or Raspberry PI to give it camera vision, basically to give it a souped up sensor! It wound up in my bag because I haven’t has time to tinker with it in my studio so am keeping it handy for when I can sneak in a late light coding session.

Wooden Stars: These little things are a currency in my household. I use them with my 5 year old as a reward for whatever things I want to highlight: taking a bath, cleaning his room, being super quiet when I am on a video meeting that is going on forever. He collects them and then can use them to purchase things. One star can buy a small chocolate or an extra book at bedtime; two can buy a Hotwheels toy car; ten stars can be used to purchase a larger toy. And the whole system has led to some really great conversations about concepts like relative value and fungibility.

Starkist Extra Virgin Olive Oil Wild Yellowfin Tuna Pouch: I have always liked the idea of food that comes in shapes that stack and store easily. (My dream would be little two inch cubes that fit together, but I digress…) I keep a bunch of these in a file cabinet, like they are little files of food. The tuna on a slice of bread is my go-to lunch when I don’t have time to prepare anything. And since I share a kitchen with eight other people this makes it easy for me to make a lunch on my own without having to get in the way. (Extra helpful during COVID times.)

INONE Aurora Non Responsive Yo-Yo: This was a gift from my students in the 4D Design Program at Cranbrook. It’s a new program that I have created and launched, so this first group of pioneers is very special, and I was touched. It seems my bag is full of potential things to play with. Like the pixycam, I haven’t used this yet, but I got super psyched when I saw how challenging it was, and I look forward to building some skillz! It is a “non-responsive” yoyo, which apparently is a thing.


(We want to hear about unusual and unusually useful items that you carry in your bag. It can be anything really: gym bag, travel bag, art bag, tool bag, etc. — or just a combination of your favorite items of the moment, that you would carry in a bag if you could. Start by sending an email to claudia@cool-tools.org with a photo of the things in your bag (you can use your phone). If you get a reply from us, fill out the form. We’ll pay you $50 if we run your submission in our What’s in my bag? newsletter and blog. — editors)

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