— sarah makes a blog


My work was recently published in The Book of Love, a collection of work arranged by Facebook’s Analog Research group. It’s a great honor to have User Experience of a Heartbreak exist in printed form, and to’ve been included in the talented group of artists who provided work for the book. Special thanks to Jez Burrows who found my work and connected me to The Book of Love project.

_MG_4143a _MG_4150a _MG_4164a _MG_4169a

Read More

Red Burns’ memorial for the ITP family was held at NYU on November 2nd. With help from my colleague Antonius Wiriadjaja, I designed a wearable LED throwie kit for each of the guests to assemble & wear in honor of Red. We wanted the guests to be able to make something with their hands, as well as have the final result embody the “maker” spirit of ITP.

We were so pleased with the final result! People had fun putting the kits together, and seeing all the little red lights glowing in the auditorium was a very unifying experience. Photos from the event to come.

redthrowie-01 redthrowie-02 redthrowie_lables1 redthrowie_lables2 redthrowie_pack1 redthrowie_pack2

Read More

I created some illustrations for our Midterm Presentations to accompany the research I’ve done thus far. See below with my notes from my talk.

goal = explore productivity at night
under the satirical assumption that we’re “not productive enough” at night

became interested in productivity bc our opinion of what is productive during the day & at night is very different.
day: cross things off our to-do lists, read emails, run errands
night: sleep soundly and let our mind/body repair itself

what if we could marry those definitions of productivity, and do something in our sleep?
create a tool for our brains that runs while we sleep
outsource tasks to ourselves during the night

meat & potatoes stage = deep sleep
it should take up 30% of your night
relevant to map amt of deep sleep to how productive their sleep is

coffee cup reps how much sleep and also predicts yr productivity
that would then be 3D printed for you every morning.
less deep sleep gives you a larger cup
more deep sleep gives you a smaller cup
you could take the cup to your local cafe

(I didn’t end up using this one, but wanted to share regardless.)

Read More

I decided to revisit the product creation assignment I completed for User Experience a few weeks ago. I wasn’t satisfied with how open-ended and unfinished my outcome felt, and I’ve had a new idea nagging me since I turned it in. I wanted to focus on food & diet; specifically avoiding the consumption of things that are harmful to your body due to allergies, intolerances or other reasons.

I attempted to simplify food testing for people with gluten intolerances, which is an incredibly involved process. Although I didn’t articulate it well, my basic idea was to have the gluten test built in to a mortar & pestle– taking the first step of traditional gluten testing and making it the last. I got caught up on the chemistry involved, though, and felt frustrated when I started to design an idea with a weak infrastructure.

My second idea was more whimsical– a portion control dish shaped like a stomach organ, meant to prevent overeating. The dish would come in customized sizes/shapes based on the person using it. I’d like to revisit the sketch of that idea and create a prototype in the near future, but it didn’t feel like and ideal interpretation of the assignment.

The idea that I kept brainstorming about me since then is a set of kitchenware that detects pesticides in produce. One mistake I made in my last design was testing food that had already been cooked. This is poor design because it’s not useful to the user. If their food is contaminated in some way, but they’ve already prepared a meal, will they be forced to throw it out? I realized this as I was posting the assignment, so I decided it smarter to focus on food preparation items instead of cookware.

The illustration below features a colander that detects the level of pesticides contaminating the food that’s being washed. The level is indicated by a color-changing rim on the top of the device. The sensor (which does not exist–yet!) is located near the base of the colander, where the water gathers as it flows out. The concept includes the idea that users can see how clean their food is in real time until it’s safe to cook & eat.

I also thought of expanding the line to include cutting boards & knives, but ultimately the user would need to re-wash the produce. So the colander is the most useful tool in this concept.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) was a useful resource while researching this idea.

Read More

Read More

Our idea for a New Media Kissing Booth was birthed after a very disappointing trip to the New Museum to see Carsten Höller’s Experience exhibit, where we were able to experience very little without waiting in line for hours. I always like to think looking at art is beneficial, because even if you don’t feel like you get anything out of it, you have the power to feel that you didn’t. And that power is something worthwhile.

This trip supported my theory brilliantly; and on the topic of power, our concept happens to involve control. We want to create a video that a user can control with her or his tongue. We’re intrigued by the idea of one person kissing; something impossible by definition. So the video controlled by the user will feature a couple who begins kissing, and continues to do so more passionately as the user moves their tongue more rapidly.

We were inspired by the technology behind Hye Yeon Nam’s Kiss Controller, which allows two users to control a video game while they kiss. Hye Yeon affixes a small magnet to one user’s tongue with Fixodent, and has the other user wear a magnetic field sensor to track the speed & movement of the magnet. Players demonstrate in this video below. Read more about Kiss Controller in this article.

We were also inspired by something DanO mentioned to us about the history of french kissing. He said (and this article confirmed) that people are attracted to and tend to choose kissing partners who have an autoimmune system that is complimentary to their own. It seems even if reproduction isn’t your ultimate goal while kissing, it’s still a big part of the psychology behind who we choose to kiss.

What happens, then, when a third person (our user) is controlling such a private experience as kissing? Is she or he simply viewing & controlling the kiss on the video, or are they partaking in it? What happens when the line between voyeurism and participation blur?

The device with which the user will control the video of a couple kissing is a lollipop. We’ll attach an accelerometer encased in acrylic to the end of the stick, and monitor the x, y and z values as the user moves the candy with their tongue. Using an arduino and the open CV library in processing, we’ll average out the values to get just one value, and map that to a specific scene in our video.


This project is a collaboration between myself, Alessandra Villiami & Amelia Hancock.



Read More

Drawing daily is dangerous. #cantstop

Read More

We have an Applications class assignment to ride the M5 bus line from where it begins in Washington Heights, to where it ends in South Ferry. The point of the exercise is to get the hell off the ITP floor and visit some other neighborhoods in glorious New York. But, I didn’t follow the assignment.

Instead, I took the B46 bus in Brooklyn from Williamsburg to Marine Park so I could pick up images of the lower abdominal CT scan I received at Marine Park Radiology in late August. And on the way, I wondered how many people on the bus also had received an appendectomy like I did in late September. So I counted the number of people who entered and exited the bus at each stop.

My count totaled 289 people, including myself and the driver, who traveled on the bus between the Lorimer stop and the King’s Plaza stop. Of those 289 people, 20 of them will need an appendectomy; according to a few studies I found that claimed 7% of U.S. citizens develop appendicitis. This USA Today article published last year claims appendicits can be cured by antibiotics, which I absolutely do not believe. But that conversation is for another time.

This map is made up of screenshots from Google Street View. The circles’ diameter (in pixels) is 10 times the amount of passengers who moved on or off the bus at any given stop, represented by the number in the center of the circle. The center of the circle marks the location of each stop. I think that about covers it.

Read More


1.  Less people than I thought willingly stepped within inches of speeding cars to wait for the light to change, and bolted across the street at the site of a 3-second gap between traffic because they’re really late for a super important client meeting. You might’ve seen these people on the subway refusing to move out of the doorway of a crowded train car because they want to be the first off the train. One of these people may have even accidentally pushed you down the stairs while exiting the subway.

2.  I am one of these people.

3.  More people than you realize are safe street-crossers.

4.  According to Donald Norman’s Design of Everyday Things, none of the people crossing the street are responsible for my getting hit by a car, so long as the pedestrian traffic signal device has malfunctioned.

5.  I am pretty much the only person who uses the device. I like how it’s a touch sensor rather than the traditional button. I like how it lets me pretend I’m doing something that will help me cross the street sooner.

6.  I am conducting an experiment in the near future to see if I can help people interact more with the device. Stay tuned.

Read More