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The ModPack (updated 1st May, 2018)

A bag with a simple design that uses recycled materials and uses modular components to suit different requirements. Buy or DIY.

Photo of Shreyas Puttaraju
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The ModPack is designed to be a semi-modular backpack consisting of a cardboard frame with a textile/leather suspension system that contains sections on to which one can place detachable components. I want people to have the simplest backpack with a small degree of freedom regarding additional storage devices.

The goal is to also introduce a fun element in the design. Customers can either buy the bag directly from us or have the option to build the bag themselves (like IKEA) and derive joy from completing such a simple task. 

Ultimately, I want to incorporate materials from Nike Grind like leather, foam and EVA complimented by other recyclable materials like packing cardboard and denim.

Company / Organization Name (if applicable)

NYU Design Thinking/ Diverse Design

Which Nike Grind materials will your idea utilize?

  • Rubber Flashings
  • EVA Foam Injection Scraps
  • EVA Foam Flashings
  • EVA Foam Sheets & Blocks
  • EVA Foam Components
  • Laminated PU Foam
  • Mixed Apparel Textile
  • Full Grain Leather Scraps

How specifically will these materials be incorporated into your solution?

The ModPack consists of three main parts. The core, suspension and modules. The core is a frame that acts as a primary support member for materials placed in the bag and provides a skeletal structure for the main body. The frame needs to be stiff and made from a material that is easily available, abundant and recyclable. It also need to be easy to cut and use if customers choose the option of self assembling their bag. Materials: Cardboard with a Tyvek coating for waterproofing and PU foam or EVA for back, internal and bottom cushioning. The suspension has 3 attachment points at the base and 1 unified point at the top. Imagine the points being like that used for playground swings. Additional straps for the waist and chest could be incorporated if required. Materials: Leather or denim to give it strength and a trendier look. If strong and long enough, textile scraps. The modules will be a denim or leather specific design with a cardboard back that would attach on the side. Development of modules is in the early prototyping stage. Materials: Cardboard, leather/denim, velcro.

Please include a visual (can be either 2D or 3D) representation/prototype of your concept. (required)

What is the current stage of development of your idea?

  • Prototyping
  • Piloting

Describe your target market. Who will benefit from your product?

Ideally, my target customer would be one who enjoys a simple fuss free design that looks good enough to complement their lifestyle. They are people constantly on the move who like short treks and doing different activities. People who like to pack light and tidy and who would appreciate a bag that could hold and protect their devices like iPads, camera's and laptops. It could be a student, college professor, cyclist, designer or even an urban trekker.

How will you scale your idea? Please describe in detail your plan to scale your concept.

Step 1 is to create prototype 3 that is to scale. Now that this has been achieved, I have a better understanding of backpack mechanics and materials. Step 2 would be to take a MVP to target customers like students and design professionals to garner feedback. Step 3 is to clean up the design based on feedback and seamlessly integrate and test modules. Step 4 is to build additional MVP's built to latest specifications. Scaling up would depend on early sample tests, interacting with potential target customers (ModPackers) and gathering data from field trials. Only after all three conditions are satisfied will it be possible to pour additional resources to reach out to a larger sample size. The challenge would be to come up with a strong differentiating point that makes ModPack a viable alternative to current backpacks.

How is your idea innovative?

A big factor in the design is the suspension design that serves a dual purpose; act as an attachment point for the main load bearing straps while also being easy to replace. This differentiates the product from other similar bags and strap designs. We see a lot of bags with multiple pockets and zips which I detest. Simplicity is key and giving customers the option to add modular parts is critical. Also, the option to buy the bag outright or buy parts and assemble as a DIY kit.

What inspired this idea?

Inspired by Origami and other modular backpacks like Honu_kea (

Tell us about yourself and your team. What is your background and experience?

I am a mechanical engineer with a primary interest in design. I have experience in prototyping and building robots, mini catapults, potato cannons and briquetting machines for commercial agriculture use.

In what city are you located?

New York

In what country are you located?


What is your legal / organizational structure? (if applicable)


Please describe how becoming a Top Idea will support the growth of your concept.

I am looking to use my engineering background to create products that are recyclable and simple in design. I enjoy prototyping and am eager to test my theories using actual challenge materials. Building prototypes and obtaining feedback from prospective clients is a time consuming process and I feel being recognized as a Top Idea can help quickly attract clients for field tests and open up more opportunities to interact with a larger target audience.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Lauren Ito

Hi Shreyas Puttaraju ,

A reminder that the ideas phase of this Challenge closes in less than one hour, at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time. Please have your submission updated by this deadline with content to all proposal questions complete.

Excited to have you in the Challenge!

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