An elastic insert invented by St. Francis Xavier University students reduces stress caused by conventional backpacks.



A group of five students from St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia have filed an American patent application after inventing a backpack that reduces stress on the body.

Studies show carrying 15 per cent of your body weight in a knapsack can cause serious back injury.

Biomechanics students studying the problem used simple materials like elastic, duct tape and thread to create a prototype for an elasticized pouch that is inserted inside a soft-walled backpack.

The pouch stabilizes the bag's contents which reduces stress on the body. Immediately, the students noticed how much lighter the bag felt.

Tina Dickieson, a research assistant on the project, said the device can be added to existing backpacks.

"It's relatively simple modification that we can use," she said.

The group, along with their biology professor Edwin DeMont, is currently exploring partnerships with backpack manufacturers to get their product in stores across North America.

DeMont told CTV Atlantic he was excited to see ideas created in the classroom have "commercialization potential."

One student, Lila Pavey says she dreamed of being an inventor as a child and she is amazed that it's actually happening. She believes the design will be useful to grade-school and college students alike.

Research has shown the market potential for the soft-walled backpacks in the United States alone is worth billions of dollars every year.