When packing for a trip, it’s easy to forget something.
One way to solve this problem is to make a list, but even that requires planning ahead of time and is prone to error.
To solve this problem, we will adopt a technique that is seen in prison kitchens (at least, the one in Alcatraz)—having a silhouette for each item that belongs in an area, so it it obvious if a specific object goes missing. In the Alcatraz scenario, the silhouette technique was applied to ensure that kitchen knives remained in the kitchen.
Fig 1: In a prison kitchen, silhouettes can be used to ensure that a knife’s absence from the kitchen is obvious.
In the packing scenario, your luggage will come with a roll-out mat with black silhouettes of all the items you need to pack.
Simply put each required item onto the poster until there are no obvious silhouettes visible, and you’ll be done packing. Never arrive at the airport without your passport / money / socks again!
Silhouette mats could be customized for each user; for example, not every traveler is going to need a pair of glasses or a vial of anti-venom.
Fig 2: A roll-out mat with silhouettes of all required items would make it almost impossible to accidentally leave an item behind when packing.
Is it possible that this may actually be a legitimately marketable idea, even if it is just a more complicated version of “make a list?”
PROS: You probably won’t forget anything for your trip!
CONS: Bulky clothing, like a winter jacket or ski pants, would probably take up an entire roll-out mat all by itself. May work poorly when multiple copies of an item are involved (e.g., 6 pairs of socks, 20 pairs of contact lenses).