Product, service, design concept using place, location and ubiquitous technology

  1. Laser tag game : the world’s first real-life, massive multiplayer, first person shooter.



This product is very similar to the experimental running game that was discussed in class. Using augmented reality and location-based technologies, turns your surrounding into battlefields and your phone into first-person shooter interface through which you can fire and shoot other player. Gamers can also record and share their real time games on social media.This game is well developed even in the crowdfunding phase and is already well supported by gamers. “More than 55,000 gamers from across the world have already signed up on the wait list to play Father.IO” says Francesco Ferrazzino, CEO of Proxy42 and lead developer on Father.IO.

Personal thought: while I’m not a gamer myself, I am eager to see if this concept and technology can be applied in other fields. It is interesting to see that this technology allow participation of many people and it requires little to be part of the game. In a way, it sort of lowering social barriers as gamers can join and play in real life with anyone. It would be cool to see some of this being applied in fields like rescue or humanitarian work.

2. Pixel Track 


Pixel Track from Berg on Vimeo.

A concept that is highly relevant to Signage – a topic that our class has been discussing for a few weeks.

Pixel Track is a concept to provide a solution to 2 critical issues in signages: changeability requirement and energy consumption of LED display. Studio Berg’s concept combines internet-connected smarts with a display made up of mechanical pixels, each with two sides. When a new message is sent to the display, a computerized track sweeps along the backside and flips the pixels into the proper configuration.The advantage to the design is that once the pixels are flipped, the sign doesn’t require any power to display its message.

Personal thought: what interesting about this concept is that it seems to go in the opposite direction with many connected product concepts these days. Instead of going digital and requires energy to operate (smart watch,smart lock…etc) , it actually stripping off energy consumption and go back to mechanical approach.  I personally feel that this solution is simple, elegant and highly convincing in achieving both changeability and energy efficiency for signages.


Reflection | CH1 from Jonas Löwgren and Erik Stolterman, Thoughtful Interaction Design

In this reading, the authors gave a brief overview of what makes a thoughtful interaction designer, as well as the challenges a designer might face. The discussions mostly concern the field of interaction design. However, as the authors mentioned, the terms are kept general and I feel that many concepts they touched on can be applied to other fields of design as well.

Firstly, this reading has suggested an answer to a question I have always had about the design process: “What is the most important skill of a designer?”. The authors suggest that the most important skill is making judgements. This skill is developed through a constant process of questioning and reflecting on what constitute good designs, formulating personal beliefs and choosing suitable frameworks for particular design situations. As there is never a perfect design and there will always be conflicts to handle as a designer, having a clear design compass and understanding our design capabilities will help tremendously in making difficult design decisions. In this reading, the authors also suggest that good design considers not only for the client and users but also for the environment and society at large. A thoughtful designer is aware of the impact he is making to the world, no matter how small the product seems in relativity.

I remember the advice from my mentor Rahul at TUMCreate : “ the worst thing you can do when designing is to be unsure or regret about a decision you made ”

Secondly, the authors also introduced the concept that digital technology is a “material without qualities”. Digital technology is a fast changing material that designers have not enough time to comprehend and understand how to make the best use of. Also, the constantly changing nature also allows digital technology to keep evolving and creating new qualities and possibilities, without having a fixed inherent quality that designers can confidently rely on. In this way, I believe the role of the designer is to define the form and select qualities of digital technology that best suits the design project, with considerations for the purpose, design situation, user and impact of the product. Also, in this regard, many companies and design houses have been arguing for their views on how to best utilise this digital technology material, especially in emerging fields such as user interface design, user experience design, interaction design…etc. Each of this argument represents a certain design theory or philosophy that influential designers wish for other to adopt. This includes examples such as Jacob Nilsen ‘s 10 Heuristic of UI Design or Google Material Design concept.


source :

For examples, Google Material Design is a design theory by Google that aims to “create a visual language for our users that synthesizes the classic principles of good design with the innovation and possibility of technology and science”. Their core principles are “Material as metaphors”, “Bold, graphic, intentional” and “motion provides meaning”. This is how the team at Google partly interpret and understand their digital material, as well as how they believe it should be used.

Lastly, I agree fully with the authors that design is a knowledge construction process, both for the designer and the world. In reality, especially in my field of industrial designs, many projects are concepts and many are speculative. Also, as design process usually takes place in situations with many constraints and conflicts from multiple stakeholders, it is likely that a concept never gets materialised. Nonetheless, I believe the process that the design team goes through, be it user study or technical development, builds up the knowledge and capabilities for the team and their clients at large. Hence, subsequent design projects can get increasingly effective, meaningful and relevant to the end user.

New vocabulary to note: thoughtful designer, design as knowledge construction, design situation, interaction design

Reflection | Jan Chipchase : You are what you carry

In this chapter, Jan had introduced very interesting concepts of range of distribution, centre of gravity and point of reflection to explain our carrying behaviour, which is about knowing where things are, being able to access them at the right time and feeling secure about their safe keepingg. Range of distribution is the distant people feel comfortable to let loose of their items, centre of gravity is the points where portable objects tend to be placed and point of reflection is the moment of reflection and evaluating what people carry.

I find these concepts thought provoking and it allows me to understand other behaviour that could be similar to carrying things. For example, forgetting to pick up buy something at the supermarket is very similar to forgetting to carry something for the day. Are we lacking points of reflection to remind ourselves that the milk at home has run out? If so, is it better to make packaging transparent to tell us when milk is low?

In the reading, the author discusses how advanced technology will change our carrying behaviour and how these 3 concepts will be used in an intangible form of network or data. Personally, I feel that technology has expanded the survival value of a phone by broadening the concept of connectivity. Carrying a phone nowadays does not simply allow contacting others in need, but it also allows access to other virtual possessions we have, be it content we created for a meeting, our online presence in social media or thousands of photos that captured our memories. The gen Y people like myself might consider connectivity as our basic need – something we cannot leave home without. The phone now is a device that affords this much more sophisticated connectivity. Phone makers have been constantly competing in this aspect, making their phones more capable by expanding its connectivity.


image from

In the Amazon predictive product example, technology will eliminate the need for a point of reflection for consumers. Ordinary consumers no longer need to check and decide when to buy their supplies. Algorithm will act as their proxy, going through almost the same process of checking supply status and make a purchase decision, with considerations for personal preference (machine learning). At this point, I realise that point of reflection is highly important to our decision-making process and it is also what makes us distinctive as human. If computers are going to remove this from us, how much more or less can we be homo sapien? Also, corporates could be using this power to shape us into consumption machines, buying things that are deliberately marketed using predictive technology. In this way, the value of physical things might be changed significantly because we put less efforts into buying them and subsequently, our idea of ownership may change as well

Another point that strikes me is the power of network that allows doing more and owning fewer things. Many start-ups like Uber, Airbnb, DHL Myway…etc are winning billions of dollars by creating shareconomies that allow people to access products and services without owning them. Essentially these shareconomies make us more independent as individuals as we have every tool we need at hand. However, we must acknowledge that these shareconomies are largely motivated by personal gains and economic interest. How can we use the power of network to create greater public good?

Lastly, I strongly agree that the Great Unburdening is on the physical aspect and people like myself are having more of psychological burden with technology. Reducing physical things to bits and bytes make them homogenous and only recognisable to a user by names. I have great difficulty search of things because I cannot always remember what I named my file. The range of distribution seems to be further and I only need to a have a string to bring things back. The search function is like a bundle of strings for me to choose from. However, how do I make sure I have the right string?

Field Trip Planning (1)

After reading different research on food adulteration, I realise the situation is slightly different from countries to countries. While the ones I have been reading on ( China, India, Bangladesh) could be classified together into emerging countries, their situations slightly differ from one another.

Most significantly, the food involved in adulteration differs from one country to another. This is due to the cultural, culinary and taste difference. Also, particular buying practices influence the choice-making process and open up opportunities for adulterated food to enter the market. (Separate post on compare/contrast)

As such, following some of their research method, I decided to conduct a field trip to understand the issue better in my project context: Vietnam. I’m going back to Can Tho city (my hometown) from the 9 – 13th September. On the 10,11 and 12th, I will go on to conduct interviews and observe the behaviour of buyers in markets and supermarkets (main sources of groceries for people staying in the city)

INTERVIEW QUESTIONs (aim to get 50-70 respondents in 3 days)

Location: Can Tho city


image from :

Market: Tan An market, Xuan Khanh market


Supermarket: Coopmart, Big C 

Green-grocer stores: some store promising safe and green produce are popping up around the city. Can make some quick visit.

User profile

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Education level
  • Income
  • Tech-savvy (owning a smartphone? using internet?)

Buying behaviour

  • Frequency of purchase (daily/2-3times weekly/weekly/monthly)
  • Where do they usually buy groceries (order of frequency): market, supermarket, wholesale, straight from farm/supplier, online?
  • What do they consider when buying (rate importance): appearance? Price? Relationships with vendor (trust)? Freebies? Availability of the food they are looking for? Accessibility of the place?

Knowledge of food-adulteration

  • How well do you know about food adulteration (don’t know, heard of, read frequently, know very well)
  • Where do you get your information from (online, newspaper, word-of-mouth, own experience)
  • Any recent suspicion/experience of food adulteration (personal experience) in the past 3 months?
  • How do you make sure the food you buy is safe?
  • What do you do when you find out the vendor adulterate the food?


  • Buying process: from start to end
  • Environment studies: food market/supermarket (how food is displayed/how they are selected and purchased/packaging/payment/how the crowd is like?/peak hour?)
  • Behaviours: common practices / any idiosyncrasies
  • How do people choose which food to buy/which store to buy from?
  • What do they carry?
  • How do they make payment?
  • Attitude towards food-adulteration
  • Packaging type
  • Level of assurance? (suggested by Peer)