What would happen if my friends have 100% control over me?

This is an experimental project on social media.

For seven days, I will post binary questions on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to collect opinions from my friends.

Level of my questions will gradually become intense as it approaches the end. I will first start with light topics such as “What should I eat for breakfast?”. Then I will intensify level of my questions to socially, ethically challenging ones. 

What would happen to my life when I give up all the cards to my friends?

The result of seven day experiment

The result of seven day experiment

I'm in Heaven! via Foursq #socialglitch

This week’s #socialhacking mission: Create a social glitch involving technology.

September 12th, 2013 @9am

I created a location on Foursq as "Maldives" near by ITP and also linked pictures of Maldives via Instagram.

People are totally thinking that I am in Maldives! 

Especially on Instagram, people are convinced that I am on a honeymoon (I got hitched 3 weeks ago).  They hate me right now, as my Maldives pictures are insanely perfect. I feel bad but at the same time, this is HILARIOUS #sorrynotsorry.  My friends who see me everyday are not responding anything to this. They must think, what is she doing, my friend is so weird. 

Social glitch may be interpreted in different ways. My interpretation of social glitch is when there is an error in the society. It's when your reaction of someone’s behavior/action is 'huh?’. Glitch is something that you are not expecting. That is why is embarks a question, an idea or conversations.

I started to feel really guilty after 6hours.. I felt like a big fat liar. So the next day, I printed out the same picture I posted on Instagram, took a picture of the picture and checked in again. The response was not very energetic as my last posts. Taking a picture of a picture idea might have been too forced.

Beginning of my idea: 

Everything that happens on my phone is not my real world. So why not dream a little further?

What would happen if I create an imaginary place that I always wanted to go to like Maldives in New York City?

Foursquare location lets you to make a location spot anywhere. Just like Wikipedia, it is build upon trust of people. We all try to check-in at a right spot on the exact time you were at. Even though no body is monitoring to see if you were actually at the location.

Would people get confused by this or play along? Would I look like a liar or axed out of the community for giving a deceiving information? 


I explored a social experiment and documented down below: 

  • Create locations where you wish to be, on Foursq.
  • Post a beach picture of Maldives via Instagram and check-in on Foursq.

Things to watch out: 

  • Don't lie. Don't say that you are actually at Maldives.
  • Give cheeky hints to give an impression that this is a light humor.

How to push it further:

This experiment is causing a lot of confusion to my FourSquare & Instagram friends. It might take some time for the public to feel comfortable to play along with this game. I am encouraging people to do this experiment with me and have more people involved.

I created more spots (such as Seychelles and Maldives Villa) in the City . I want to create a lot more and hide these spots across NYC for people to find them like treasure hunts. 


Some of the feedback I got from my friends were interesting. 

One incidence, my friend and her boyfriend were in an argument about whether I was in a honeymoon or not. They were arguing for awhile and looked at my location again to find that I was in Manhattan. They laughed about it. I am glad I am not giving positive vibe to people :)

Making a Product for Extreme Users

TASK: Create an oven for the blind

Our team discussed the problem, sketched and prototyped using cardboards and post-its.

Experimenting with more than hands as "interaction devices" and how even with 2 hands, one was used for framing and the other for fine grained interactions.  We also discuss the possibility to keep some of these features for non-extreme users: how inclusive design can be become inspirations for designing for all.

Lesson from our amazing Professor Anne-Laure:

1. Don't forget empathy: Teams focused quickly on the task rather than imagining the whole life of the person (the empathy level was not very high when they started describing the context of their project; they barely remembered the name of their user). For a real project, that will imply doing research (observations, interviews, etc.) and trying to go beyond the obvious and learn about the life of the person beyond the specific problem. [Remember what we discussed for the wallet exercise. Remember also some of Chris (from whatif) tips for the interviews.]

2. Be concrete; think of the specifics: personas and scenarios (or similar tools) are useful to help you think of the situation...  Being concrete and empathic will allow you to focus on the experience of your user / customer (which you did not really seem to take into account at least when you presented your final solution).

3.  While doing (and prototyping) is important, don't jump to one solution too quickly and be ready to change. It is important to explore different opportunities / options before making a decision. [I did not feel there was a lot of explorations going on]

4.  Remember to brainstorm (with a set amount of time and a facilitator) and remember the rules of brainstorming:

1.Defer judgment

2.Build on the ideas of others

3.One conversation at a time

4.Stay focused on the topic

5.Encourage wild ideas

5. Where and how you ideate? We discussed and experimented several times how location (in a different room, in the street; standing around a board instead of sitting, each in front of computers, etc.) could have an impact on our ways of thinking. It is up to you to design your space so that it is optimum for collaborating and coming up with a lot of great ideas.

6. Collaboration and communication: this is team work and even though it's the end of the semester and everybody is tired, it is important to work together. Moreover, while working in sub-groups can be effective (remember the shopping cart video with various sub-teams working on some specific aspects of the design), it has to be a conscious decision and managed so that you can get a fruitful mix of ideas.

7. Prototype to think and not only to present

You did it to a certain extent, but you could have done it much more.

How might we gather information from hard-to-access areas to prevent mass violence against civilians?

In Design Thinking class, Nye Zhien and I came up with an idea of Satellite Kit for this OpenIDEO challenge. 

A title: Visualizing Data with Satellite Kit

We want to spread small signaling devices to hard to reach areas. Based on the existing portable TV kit in Tibet, China, a solar power based portable TV will be our device to receive local Satellite signal. Microscopic information will be transferred to NGOs that can receive local content knowledge. Then this data will be translated to the Global press, social media and international NGOs as macroscopic view. Globally, the information/data can be processed and will be able to view danger patterns around the world. This data visualization can be given back to local NGOs and to the locals in remote areas as a full loop. Mass violence will be then exposed to the public almost real-time.

An alert button can be added on it to send out alert signals. People can also visualize alerts that are happening microscopic and macroscopic scale via this Satellite TV. What’s more, the solar power in the kit can be used as an emergency power supply in places where electronic access is hard to reach.

With open access to images, everyone, NGOs, governmental agencies and citizens, may analyze data and mix with other sources to verify them.

The medium (it can of course includes multiple media):

Our Satellite Kit is a portable solar energy device. It receives Satellite signal that can be even used in the amazon forest.

Low cost satellite platforms are available by many commercial companies in Europe or elsewhere. Even major universities have launched mini satellites in recent years. We use satellite monitoring to improve safety on the ground. Satellite monitoring also improves the quality of the instantly  information with its images.

idea sketch

idea sketch

[UX design] Creating an on-line tutoring platform

[On-line education] 

There is a big movement in MOOC and it is a huge trend in educational technology. There are massive amount of students enrolling in on-line courses and meet ups are created around local areas. MOOC works as a big community creator and organization which creates a society.MOOCs are not very personalized and it's hard for students to focus on web.

[Real-life education]

It's a big waste of time for tutors to commute to student's place or vice versa.

Do background Research:

  1. A lot of students still seek for tutoring (a link to a survey will be attached soon).
  2. Many people sign up for MOOC and don't participate (a link to a survey will be attached soon).
  3. It's much harder for students to focus when there is no teacher nor deadline around (a link to various interviews will be attached soon).

Develop a hypothesis:

One on one interaction between tutor and a student that has helped so many students to perfect their study. This on-line tutoring system that simulates real life tutoring experience that caters for an individual who prefers personal and detailed attention. This platform will also save them a lot of commuting time and increase efficiency. 











Design a wallet for a friend

An ideal wallet that I would like to have: Money well organized. side pocket where you can just dump receipts.

My NEW Mission: Design something useful and meaningful for your partner. start by gaining empathy.

From an interview with Ken, he wanted a thin wallet that he can put inside his pocket. His current wallet gets bulky easily so he wishes to keep it thin. He usually keeps credit card, metro card and some cash. He wishes there was some space for coins. Also, a special place his keys only if he can keep it slim. 

Digging deeper, we did a second round of interview to know his life style better.

He is used to using cash more than credit card in China where he grew up. However, here in New York, he keeps it to $20-40 but never more. He never lost a wallet before but he worries if he might loose it at some point. His pattern of keeping his wallet tidy is to create a mess first and cleaning it up regularly.


Goals and wishes for Ken:

He wants to keep his wallet tidy and slim. He still wants a lot of function in his wallet so it can be his all-in-one object.


Maybe having a wallet that is slightly bigger than his current one might work for him. Strong material that can keep all of his money, cards, coins and keys compact and in order is needed.

Take a stand with a poin-of-view:

Key needs a way to keey his wallet clean because he likes orderly, clean lifestyle although it's easy for him to get messy.

Ideate: Generate alternatives to test

  • A wallet that can shrink to a super compact mode
  • More organized and clean structure
  • Find a different folding method to put his keys and different shape of things.
  • Make a secret pocket where he can put his international "lucky" coin.

Feedback I got from Ken:

He is excited about pockets in his wallet! Strong wallet is needed.


Ideation with WhatIf: Brainswarm

We practiced the innovation methods (in particular insights gathering) they introduced us to.

Some of the values and behaviors central to the WhatIf way:

- being playful

- greenhousing

- developing habits of deliberate freshness

developing hunches: if we only stay with the obvious, then we won't get nothing new.


WhatIf's principle emphasizes the importance of practice and creating ways and environments to support creative behaviors and approaches.

Knowledge sharing and Lego building

In NYU Poly's Design Thinking class, we discussed different types of imaginations (descriptive, creative and challenging) that were involved in the creative process and supported by Legos. Interestingly, we saw these different imaginations enacted in the individual and group activities we did with Legos: some using Legos to describe a possibility while others imagining other forms of possible and even challenging it.


At the core of the Legos experience is its playful character which facilitates bonding and storytelling. The materiality of Legos (it was interesting to see people putting all the blocks on the table, moving them around) is also key in allowing to go from abstract to concrete as well as to support collaboration.