Profile: Creating the 'World's Greatest Backpack'

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SAVANNAH -- "I didn't want to make a better backpack, I wanted to change the way people carry stuff," Jamie Bowerman, a Savannah College of Art and Design master's student tells me. He's a long-time tinkerer whose invented all kinds of crazy things, all of which failed, he said. When I asked him what his "awesomest failure" was, he didn't miss a beat. In glorious detail, he described a game system he designed for swimming pools.

StartupNationbug.pngThe backpack you see above, though, is not a failure. It is the result of a successful Kickstarter fundraising drive, and Bowerman promises it will be the "world's greatest backpack." It converts from backpack to messenger bag to bike saddle bag -- and it's being built with a modular design that lets you customize its pockets and look.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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