Design Thinking Projects and News — Products of Design
The Latest in Design Thinking and Making
SVA’s master’s program in design thinking shows the latest projects from designers with multidisciplinary training.
See the latest design innovations from SVA’s Products of Design from Arduino-powered clouds to sexual health interventions for the CDC. We spotlight news from a multitude of disciplines including nontraditional areas for designers to make an impact.
Roger is a device that helps children of low-income families get consistent sleep. Designed for the many children whose parents work irregular hours, it aims to get children to bed on time, especially when parents are not available. Created by recent graduate Kevin Cook as part of his thesis, Closer Kin: Building Stronger Family Environments, Roger releases a pre-recorded bedtime story every night at a specified time and gives children an incentive to get to bed on their own.
Sinclair Smith is the Director of the SVA GroundFloor Incubator, and a founding faculty at MFA Products of Design. Upon his return from leading the SVA Destinations Summer Program to Yame, Japan, department chair Allan Chochinov sat down with Sinclair to talk about the adventure, the highlights, the challenges, and the gratifications.
Antya Waegemann’s thesis, When No One Believes You: Redesigning the Rape Kit and Responses to Sexual Assault, proposes six different design interventions for sexual assault victims, nurses and the police, to increase report rates, improve the experience of getting a rape kit, and increase rape kit testing, as well as to reduce stigma and shame around sexual assault and increase accountability.
After becoming interested in the growing phenomenon of non-monogamous relationships, Yangying developed her thesis, MONO/POLY: Designing for a Post-Marriage Society, to create services, experiences, and educational games that speak to polyamorous partnerships and envision a society where monogamy is no longer the default ordering principle of society.
Through her thesis, Queer China: Diminishing the Tension Between Chinese Queer Youth and Their Family, Xuan set out to design interventions that bring comfort, provide support, and facilitate both personal and political conversations for Chinese Queer Youth and their families.
Carly Simmons’s thesis, The Mother Load: Owning Motherhood and Offloading Burden, aims to redistribute the burden and responsibility typically held by women and mothers to other individuals in their social network. In her research, Carly engaged with over two dozen new mothers who expressed feeling an absence of community support during and after pregnancy.
As it does in the physical world, violence against others occurs in VR spaces. While designers may not be able to expunge this from human nature, Phuong Anh Nguyen believes that we can design tools for victims to gain agency over their harasser. Through her thesis Power Play: Designing for Agency and Empathy in Virtual Environments, she aims to introduce empathy-building products and experiences to shape respectful behaviors in current and future virtual environments.
Tzu-Ching Lin’s thesis, No Do-Over: Designing Lives Without Regret, uses design to help people live with their regrets in peaceful coexistence. Through speculative product designs, an app, and a public experience, Tzu-Ching’s thesis provides tools for attaining perspective and making better decisions, in order to live a life of less regret.
Evie Cheung’s thesis, Alexa, Help Me Be A Better Human: Redesigning Conversational Artificial Intelligence for Emotional Connection, interrogates the status quo of the artificial intelligence (AI) space, and suggests pathways to use intersectional thinking to imagine new applications for the technology. Her thesis intends to help people connect with themselves and with other humans, through interventions that use conversational AI and natural language processing.
For his thesis, Small But Certain Happiness: Finding Fulfillment in a Low Desire Society, Runshi set out to create simple but delightful experiences that reduce the pressures in the day-to-day lives of Chinese youth who feel incapable of achieving goals in their careers and personal lives, so much so that they have been called the “low-desire society”.
Sophie Carrillo’s thesis Unauthorized Play: Design Provocations for Children in Crisis is a year-long exploration on the potential benefits of implementing more play into children’s lives, particularly for children who are growing up in adverse environments. From her research and conversations, two key ingredients of play emerged: risk and agency. This insight launched her into an exploration of what makes kids feel empowered and fearless. Sophie envisioned several design interventions within the play spectrum, ranging from entirely child-led ones to ones directed by schools and parents.
In his thesis, Density is Destiny: Designs for Shared Experience in the Coming Age of Autonomous Vehicles, André Orta envisions a future of optimized ride-sharing, where increasing the density of passengers per vehicle not only alleviates systemic issues like traffic, but also enables new community spaces to flourish inside the driverless, shared vehicles of the near future.
Micah’s thesis, Attainable: Designing for Academic Engagement Through Sports and Exercise, uses methodologies from sports and exercise as a design toolkit to encourage academic engagement in students. Micah designed interventions that provide students with increased focus, communal support, and career opportunities.
After learning of food deserts and food insecurity in New York, Danish designer Gustav Dyrhauge quickly decided to dedicate his thesis, Food Justice: Through the Power of Knowledge Sharing, to food justice and the problem of food insecurity. He designed workshops, services, and experiences in collaboration with Brooklyn youth, towards the goal of job security, food security, and the celebration of cultural heritage through culturally-appropriate food.
As someone who has suffered from public speaking anxiety her whole life, Eugenia Ramos decided to face her fear and treat her condition as a case study and a personal challenge for her thesis, Public Speaking Anxiety: The Environments That Make or Break Us. She designed a set of tools that help people improve their communication skills, overcome the anxiety caused by public speaking.
For Hannah Rudin’s thesis, Teambuilding America: A Declaration of Interdependence, she set out to tackle the issue of political polarization in America. Using the strategies of contact, action, and future-building, Hannah designs interventions meant to bridge political divides and address polarization within society at large, as well as within the workplace and between family members.
In his thesis, Closer Kin: Building Stronger Family Environments by Design, Kevin Cook explores how children’s outcomes could be improved by strengthening family relationships. Kevin argues that for children facing adversity, products promoting positive socio-emotional validation in the home could make children more resilient, allow space for healthier development, and ultimately reduce future inequalities.
For his thesis, There and Never Back Again: Design in the Next Age of Space Exploration, John Boran Jr. designed for “a future that is still far enough to be exciting, but close enough to design for: going to Mars.” John designed practical tools as well as products that addressed the emotional wellbeing of travelers to, and inhabitants of, Mars.
For Ellen Rose’s thesis, The Aha Movement: The Creative Process at Work, Ellen delved into an exploration of how design might be used to foster a team’s collective creative practice. She saw an opportunity to design products and services that cultivate creativity in the workplace based on the fundaments of trust, resilience and the chance for coincidence.
Through her thesis, Hysterical Women: Designing Experiences to Counter the Current Gaslighting Healthcare System, Rhea Bhandari aims to elevate the healthcare experience of women by designing more efficient and empathetic diagnostic and treatment strategies, and providing women with new tools with which to track and communicate their symptoms.
In his thesis, Before you click: Design for Better Decision-Making in Online Shopping, Zihan Chen examines the problems of product design in online shopping, to provide online shoppers with tools of various kinds for making better purchasing decisions. His thesis explores interventions that make online shopping less impulsive, more mindful and more social.
For his thesis, Fantasies of Our Independence: The Role of Civil Society in the Postmodern City, Ben Bartlett spent this year studying Western urbanism and the future of cities. After speaking with experts in urban planning, urban mobility, and counterterrorism, he determined that safety, and the feeling of safety, shape the policy and planning of urban systems. Throughout his research he uncovered two different approaches to creating safer public spaces that will determine how futures cities function and treat their citizens, and designed both speculative and pragmatic interventions to respond to each.
Starting off the day for the sixth annual MFA Products of Design Thesis Presentations, program chair Allan Chochinov welcomes guests, families, and livestream viewers, and shows examples of the products, services, systems, and platforms that the students will be presenting through the event.