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Spring 2019

NWMEDIA C203 • MEC ENG C205 • 4 units
Mon+Wed 10:00–12:00
210 Jacobs Hall


Professor • Eric Paulos
GSI • Sarah Sterman

Final Provocation

In this provocation, students were asked to design a new wearable within the landscape of cosmetic computing. That is, a new physical object (or collection of objects) that are body-worn. The in class critique was 7 May with a public showcase at Jacobs on 9 May and a booth showcasing the work at the Bay Area Maker Faire 17–19 May 2019.

Collective Obscura

Shreyas Bhayana, Eleni Oikonomaki, Lian Song, Bryan Truitt, Rashad Timmons

Fashion has and continues to afford radical possibilities for thinking about embodiment and anonymity. This is especially important in our present context where the body is increasingly imagined and captured as profitable data. The mission of Collective Obscura is to craft dynamic garments and accessories that undermine systems of surveillance and identification. We firmly believe that fashion can simultaneously be aesthetically forward and technically subversive, and that sharing tools to create and design such apparel is a vital practice in the fight for privacy. Our motivations are driven by a desire to disrupt these systems of identification and tracking by mobilizing the material properties of different fabrics to achieve tactics of camouflage, obscurity and opacity. We emphasize the use of craft as a subversive tactic of embodied resistance against centralized, mechanistic surveillance.

Toxic Tie

Sonia Uppal, Bryanna Benicia, Xianxin Zhang, Soravis (Sun) Prakkamakul

The Toxic Tie is a speculative design piece intended to make a statement on misogyny in the workplace. It recognizes when misogynistic words or phrases are spoken and reacts by folding up and tapping the wearer on the face to inform the wearer that they need to check themselves and consider the impact of their words. Additionally, it rewards the wearer for saying something complimentary. We created the Toxic Tie as a way to take action on workplace sexism without people worrying about facing consequences for standing up and calling someone out. Our website allows women to input misogynistic phrases that they gave heard in the workplace to help train our tie to better react in these situations. We hope to empower and support women by showing them a a bulletin of all of the crowdsourced phrases that others have submitted to show that they’re not alone in this fight.


Aura Barrera, Lili Dai, Ivy Nguyen, Elnaz Tafrihi, Joshua Yuan

Jester is a wearable that allows the wearer to communicate to other wearers through gestures like crossing arms and arms behind head. Jesters are equipped with IMU sensors that output orientation data and gravitational vectors. Users can define mappings between gestures and meanings by repeatedly performing the gesture, which allows the Jester to train using machine learning. A few use cases include physical therapy progress tracking, spy communication, habit breaking, and secret gestures as passwords. This device is useful in situations where traditional communication through texting or talking is not possible.

Camofleur — Leave in peace

Steffan Cross, Andrew Louie, Mimi Shalf, Hailey Windsor, and Meena Kaushik

Camofleur is an ecosystem of wearables—a ring, a necklace pendant, and a bracelet. Together they enable the wearer to subtly leave any uncomfortable or undesired social interaction. By placing the ring near the pendant, the wearer can trigger a phone call or text. They can customize the caller ID as well as the content of the text message through an app. By placing the ring near the bracelet, they can send a message to a companion bracelet to indicate that they need an interruption. Whether it’s receiving a text or call, or buzzing a friend, the wearer can have peace of mind that they always have an exit plan.


Annalise Kamegawa, James Smith, Melissa Su, Janaki Vivrekar

BiBO is a dynamic, responsive compression band for competitive athletes in training. With context-aware modes of sensing an athlete’s heartbeat, BiBO equips the wearer with an automated regulator for real-time muscle recovery. Upon detecting a relaxed pulse, BiBO automatically activates a gradual compression on the athlete’s arm, to help modulate blood circulation and reduce inflammation. With BiBO, athletes can engage in rigorous workout sessions without having to break the fluidity of their routines to benefit from compression therapy. Breathe in, breathe out, and let BiBO do the rest!


Nick Doerschlag, Conner Hunihan, Shirley Wang, and Debbie Yuen

Together connects caretakers of people with severe autism directly to external support networks such as doctors, school teachers, and parents. This information can help create a stronger understanding of the wellbeing of the person with autism and make keeping track of information such as bathroom breaks, meals, and emotional behaviors easy and predictive. This system fits into a convenient wearable that keeps loved ones updated with real-time data, whenever and wherever.


Arnold, Jessie, Jeremy, Angela, Franky

Spectalkulars are glasses that connect users in real life and helps guide them through conversations. An accompanying mobile app allows users to input their interests and find other people nearby to talk to. Based on the number of common interests and proximity, Spectalkulars will select the best person nearby to talk to and help guide users step-by-step through the conversation. Starting and continuing a conversation with someone has never been easier with Spectalkulars!


Fang Fang, Patrick Lai, Yani Mai, Oliver Moldow, Tonya Nguyen

With greater pressure to perform and the popularity of social media, life has become increasingly stressful. Modern times have seen rampant rises in cases of anxiety and depression. In response, we created Calm.io, a wearable device to ground users during stressful times. Designed to combat panic attacks for people with anxiety, Calm.io provides on demand and discrete support. When the user feels overwhelmed, they can simply turn Calm.io’s dial. The band contracts and expands around the wrist, providing a calming breathing pattern. This pattern is paired with LED lights for visual indication, and can be made faster or slower as needed by adjusting the dial. Calm.io’s interaction focuses your attention on your body, calming your mind, all without announcing your panic attack to the world.

First Day of Class • Design Matrix


Hyper Personal Protoyping Stand • In Class Field Activity


Sensory Cardboard • Field Activity 02


BoxIt • Field Activity 03

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    Field Activity 03
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    Field Activity 03
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    Field Activity 03
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    Field Activity 03

    Provocation 01 • Protest Design

    In this provocation, students were asked to design a new interactive object within the landscape of protest and activism.

    Anti-WuMai Mask

    Lili Dai, Eleni Oikonomaki, James Smith, Elnaz Tafrihi, Xianxin Zhang

    This project explores the concept of an anti-air pollution mask that will be utilized in the extreme conditions of Beijing. This product will help and bring health and a feeling of community to the user while preparing them to participate in air pollution protests. We intended to design a mask as a tool for citizens and activists alike, to inform, educate and empower them to take action for a greener and cleaner future with less air pollution. Our main idea was to create a mask that can influence mobility choices by encouraging the interaction between the user and their community, while a moveable part that opens and closes organically functions as a “breathable” mechanism for the mask. This project points towards an imminent future where wearable interfaces are customized not only to fit a particular face shape but also detect environmental changes and adapt to them in real time.


    Arnold Yeung, Aura Barrera, Conner Hunihan, Janaki Vivrekar, Julia Park

    AdBag is a physical ad-targeting service. The process is simple: just put on AdBag and customize the data settings based on someone you see. AdBad will let you know which ad to deliver and how much the delivery pays. Every ad is unique, as is every person you encounter, so there is an infinite possibility of earning potential. By materializing the algorithmically-driven processes behind current ad-targeting practices into a real-world, physical interaction, AdBag hopes to facilitate a conversation around data practices, transparency, and ethical usage. The bag is constructed of canvas and acrylic sheeting, with an Adafruit Feather-powered system of electronics. This system converts data from dials, switches, and sliders into a suggested advertising identification number which is displayed on an LCD screen, along with a calculated value of delivery. The deliverer confirms delivery by pushing a big red button that also triggers a cash register sound and resets the system.

    Open Library

    Annalise Kamegawa, Andrew Louie, Angela Huang. Debbie Yuen, Jeremy Rosen

    This mobile library is an act of solidarity with UC-AFT, a union representing librarians and non-Senate faculty serving the University of California. Right now, librarians are bargaining with the University of California to get the wages and rights they need to provide our campuses with invaluable resources. The goal of this project is to create a mobile artifact that shows more people the reach and value of UC librarians. By creating the pins, we were able to create an aesthetic, accessible piece that librarians and their allies could use on an everyday basis. The audio device in the mobile library is activated by the magnet in the pin to create white noise. This meditative space allows users to read where ever the mobile library is and thus get a deeper understanding of how important librarians, and the spaces they maintain, are.


    Fang Fang, Meena Kaushik, Patrick Lai, Soravis Prakkamakul

    A day spent protesting is an exhausting and long day, both physically and emotionally. We designed Rise-n-Sign as a wearable to combat physical fatigue, specifically fatigue caused by holding and moving protest signs. Rise-n-Sign does all the sign work for you, freeing users’ hands for more interesting purposes. It is a sleek sash with an attached post to hold your sign. Rise-N-Sign is interactive and responds to the voice of the surrounding group, moving up and down more as chanting grows louder. This feature both brings delight and keeps you in solidarity with the energy of the crowd. The device has extra pockets for small objects to help you store the essentials. Its waterproof fabric helps keep your things dry and clean. The built-in battery doubles as a power bank for your devices, helping them last the whole long day.


    Yani Mai, Franky Spektor, Melissa Su, Bryan Truitt, Joshua Yuan

    Amplifi is a fictional web-based platform which sells activism as a “product,” following crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo. We explore this idea as an answer to the question: when money equals speech, which voices get to be heard? Under the platform, users can sign up for the service with just a voice sample and credit card, and be shown a protest event stream based on their preferences. When users make donations to protest events they care about, their algorithmically generated “voice” is remotely channeled to Amplifi Protest Masks, worn by activists on the ground. In this way, a group of ten activists can have their voices amplified to sound like a crowd of a hundred -- while letting couch activists off the hook. In addition to adding their voices to Protest Masks, however, site users can also donate to remove voices from opposing Mask wearers, thereby silencing the opposition.

    The 2%: Critique on Violent Protests Through Sarcasm

    Nicholas Doerschlag, Jiexin (Jessie) Lyu, Shreyas Bhayana, Sonia Uppal, Mimi Shalf

    Violence is never be the intended purpose of protests, and In fact, most individuals do not attend protests with the hopes of inciting violence. By attaching pressurized milk to a hat, it allows people to always have a sense of safety even in the midst of intense danger. By countering the harsh effects of pepper spray people feel defended without wearing body armor, or carrying a weapon. Though it must be understood that this was not created for parents to give to their child before a protest. It’s far too large and clumsy to really work in the midst of danger. The act of wearing the milk hat was supposed to be a way to stand up against the premise of protests turning violent. It’s supposed to draw attention, be caught in the lens of a cellphone, and talked about because people need to start talking about violence in protests.

    Ok Google, Tell Me the Truth

    Bryanna Benicia, Steffan Cross, Ivy Nguyen, Lian Song, Shirley Wang

    The goal of our project was to explore what it means to bring transparency to Silicon Valley, and what is revealed when a company is viewed through different angles. We chose to express this in the form of an installation piece, which decomposes the Google logo into Google’s recent controversies and allegations — from artificial intelligence contributions to military projects to mishandling of sexual harassment. Viewed at face value, one sees the Google logo and the clean facade the company portrays — but taken from other perspectives, there is more than initially meets the eye. Through our project, we also looked to amplify the voices of employees at Google that were personally affected; drawing from recent dialogue and open letters, our installation works to make concrete the importance of verbalizing dissent, and speaking out against injustice, even if it’s against your employer.

    Hidden Systems: Black Box Ethics

    Oliver Moldow, Tonya Nguyen, Rashad Timmons, Hailey Windsor

    Heuristic Algorithm is an exploration of hidden mechanisms with the visual metaphor of the black box. Upon stepping within range of the mysterious box, a futuristic cacophony assaults the user. Thereafter, the box verbally prompts the user to stop the noise by inserting a quarter. When change has been inserted, the futuristic sound ends and is replaced with a statistic on exclusionary algorithms or other tech “black box” systems.

    Images from class critique (credits Franchesca Spektor)


    Provocation 02 • Move On

    In this provocation, students were challanged to design or redesign objects used as part of human powered movement.

    Bubblo Picasso

    Fang Fang, Rashad Timmons, Sonia Uppal, Joshua Yuan, Debbie Yuen

    Parents often think about and miss their babies while at work. Bubblo Picasso attempts to demonstrate a responsiveness to parental and familial anxieties about not spending enough time with their children. It augments a standard baby walker and uses a Leap Motion Controller to read in the baby’s hand motions. As the baby walks around the house, an interface converts the baby’s hand movements to art that their parents and family members can remotely view in real time from a website, save and upload to their social media. While the baby is walking, the song Baby Shark is played and bubbles are released beneath the walker into the baby’s field of vision. This encourages the baby to pop the bubbles and dance to the music to create digital art. Bubblo Picasso structures an interaction between parents and infants, predicated on feelings of nostalgia, memory, and parental achievement across spatial distance.


    Patrick Lai, Andrew Louie, Ivy Nguyen, Eleni Oikonomaki, Bryan Truitt

    In the digital age, the art of conversation is slowly dying. People spend time staring into the bright glow of their screens, removing themselves from reality. We created Pic-cell to question the impact technology has on personal relations and to imagine how technology can facilitate interpersonal interactions. Pic-Cells are modular mobile spaces that mimic grass parks. Used individually, a Pic-Cell emits ambient crowd noise, to attract users and help riders feel like they have company. Once linked with another Pic-Cell, built-in proximity sensors stop playback, allowing users to talk freely. Pic-Cells are equipped with a conversation starter. At the press of a button, your Pic-Cell will read a question from an open-source queue. With the accompanying app, users can locate a Pic-Cell, other riders, and submit questions to the queue.

    Sole Mix

    Aura Barrera | Franky Spektor | James Smith | Shreyas Bhayana

    Sole Mix is footwear that generates music from dance moves. It incorporates two force-sensitive resistors placed in the sole near the heel and toe areas of the foot as well as an accelerometer to monitor the foot orientation. Data collected by all these sensors are mapped to different instrumental sounds and respond to kicking, tapping, and directional momentum. Through tracking different movements of the feet, the generated sounds flow together to create customized music. Two Adafruit Feather M0 microprocessors (with built-in WiFi modules) are used for the data transfer between the Sole Mix dance shoe and the sound playback device (such as a laptop). The collected data is then passed to an audio processing software that maps the data to instrumental sounds for the collected data points. Sole Mix can be used by beginners, professional dancers, and choreographers alike. With Sole Mix, now everyone can dance to their own beat.


    Angela Huang, Soravis (Sun) Prakkkamakul, Lian Song, Elnaz Tafrihi

    This project explores the concept of personal transportation that can perform beyond an inanimate object. By equipping a skateboard with pressure sensors and a projector, we created a meaningful personal connection between skater and skateboard. Through interactions, we were interested in themes of waste reduction, navigation, and what it means to have a meaningful experience with your personal belongings. EmotiBoard is mainly controlled by Raspberry Pi Zero W while the Feather Arduino board serves as the analog input reader. Our final prototype uses three different methods of 3D printing including Stratasys Fortus 380MC , Ultimaker and Objet260 Connex3 to create custom joinery that attaches the projector to the skateboard and holds the electronics. In order to design the connection with higher precision we used Structure 3D scanner to generate the initial meshes. We also developed an app to help the user connect with the skateboard, navigate and locate other skateboarders.

    ABC Toy Dolly

    Arnold Yeung, Lili Dai, Steffan Cross, Mimi Shalf, Yani Mai

    ABC Toy Dolly is a modular toy dolly based off children’s toy dollies and furniture dollies that encourages creativity and collaboration in group games. With embedded sensors, LED Lights, magnetic connectors and an accompanying app, ABC Toy Dolly can provide a wide range of games and help reimagine the definition of PLAY. Multiple games and configurations can be chosen through the app, and are represented by different colors of LED lights on the bottom of the dolly. Some games we planned for the dolly were Blob Tag, Space Invader, and Freeze Tag. The sensors are embedded in the side of the dollies and when two dollies connect the sensors can trigger the lights to change depending on the game being played. Players can also use the magnetic connectors to create different configurations and come up with new games to play.

    Office Kart

    Melissa Su, Bryanna Benicia, Jeremy Rosen, Hailey Windsor

    We chose to re-appropriate a form of transit that is not designed to be transit: the office chairs. Office chairs on wheels are well known to be used for racing and spinning and scooting, but it is rare that a chair will actively encourage mobility (if not a formal wheelchair). With Office Kart, that all changes. Office Kart gamifies the office sitting experience. Coworkers can challenge each other through a website, race on a course they set up based on the office space they work in, then see their results and stats ranked on that same challenge website. These chairs come equipped with handlebars so one teammate can push the other. Office Kart aims to enliven the workspace, encourage physical activity, and promote coworker bonding, all within a chair that easily integrates into an existing space.

    Plant Bus

    Conner Hunihan, Jessie Lyu, Oliver Moldow, Shirley Wang, and Xianxin Zhang

    Plant Bus is based off of the playful assumption that plants can also feel the world as much as we do. That instead of being restrained in a place forever, plants yearn to travel and explore all that nature has to offer. With this project, we hope to inspire a consideration of how we think of plants, using mobility as a catalyst for conversation. Moreover, our project is aimed at bringing a community of people together. Humans will be the source of power to move the plants around and trigger the watering system to help keep the plants alive. We hope Plant Bus will encourage the people of its context to be more active, socially open, and to build a stronger sense of community through the acts of rejuvenating the lives of plants.

    Dérivé | Shoes Your Own Adventure

    Nick Doerschlag, Annalise Kamegawa, Meena Kaushik, Tonya Nguyen, Janaki Vivrekar

    Dérivé is a dynamic mode of discovery that lights the path to an adventure. By simply connecting users’ shoes to their Dérivé mobile app, Dérivé helps them engage in spontaneous journeys full of discovery, out of step from the typical mundanity of our daily lives. Dérivé suggests flexible paths that fit a user’s spatial, temporal, and preferential constraints while balancing their journey with a sense of delightful adventure. The Dérivé shoe and mobile app move in tandem with the user. After user shares the details of their preferred experience with the app, Dérivé generates a customized experience for its user. Whether the user is a long time local looking to see their city in a new light or a newcomer to an unfamiliar town, Dérivé has the ability to change their perspective.


    Fiat Faciendi • Field Activity 05


    Field Trips and other Classroom Culture