how do you feel?

speculative design research component for project synthesis

Speculative design, a kind of design that is used as a tool to create not only things but ideas,
a means of speculating about how things could be—to imagine possible futures.
This is the research project with no thoughts on final deliverable at the time.


I started with my area of interest, and created a tangent tree that maps out all the connections I could think of and all the connections to those connections and so on, filling out the area. I went back over the map a few times and added more tangents. I ended up with a lot of topics and questions related to modern medicine, human health, relationship and communication, as well as emerging augmentative technology. I then started a series of data collection and interviews with both random and specifically targeted participants to get a better understanding of my potential topics and how the world around me interprets it.




Participants : Professionals in the field of Choreography, Computer Science, Musicology, Education, Psychology, etc.
Event : Conference for Research on Choreographic Interfaces
Location : Brown University Granoff Center of Creative Arts


During the discussion session at the conference (where I worked as a voluntary technology assistant & reception), this question was asked: What is the future? and participants were asked to write their thoughts and insights on stickies and extra-large sticks. Then the stickies were viewed together and grouped into four abstract categories: AI-ethics, emotions, end of the physical and apocalyptic possibilities. The conference participants were then asked to go to the category they are interested in the most and form small groups for discussions, while I sat close to the groups and took notes.




Participants : Students of Jewelry, Industrial Design, Architecture Major at RISD; Students at Brown University
Location : Multiple Locations around RISD / Brown Campus

For each pair of participants to my little field research, I asked them to perform the following actions :
The first participant draws a random image on a post-it. There are no limitations regarding how complex/simple or realistic/abstract of the image but it has to be done “fast” and using only one stroke of the marker. The post-it note is then handed to the second participant and the first participant is then asked to direct the second participants to draw the exact same image with the same size and composition. Throughout the process, the first participant is allowed to negotiate with the second in any way (e.g. make sketches, grids, constantly give directions, etc.) except show the second participant his/her drawing or draw for the second participant. I video taped all experiments and asked all participants how they felt about communicating after they completed the exercise.

The purpose of this test is to simulate the process of patient / doctor communication. The drawings represent abstract things such as painfulness & feeling & sensitive topics that patients may find hard to talk about.



I took the results and did a series of analysis to determine what exactly is effective communication.




The more successful results seemed to rely on mathematical / quantitative directions. therefore, I designed a second set of experiments that zoomed in on that aspect. I provided all the participants with a tablet / phone with an opened drawing app with pre-existing grid I imported into the interface. The level of success and accuracy drastically increased. 



This is a metaphorical representation of the issue of communication I am trying to resolve. It is a doctor’s face mask made out of styrene, with a double-sided see through mirror attached at the very front of it. When the mask if not worn, the front piece is see-through, but when it is worn, the enclosed dark space around the wearer’s mouth turns the front piece into a mirror to the one looking directly at he/she. 


Wearer Perspective: 
Doctor: This implies that when the patient is heavily focused on himself/herself during the conversation with the doctor, and is very likely to mirror anything the doctor suggests onto himself/herself, such as symptoms, lifestyle habits. Then conversation then becomes arbitrary because it turns into a game of “do I maybe have what the doctor is suggesting?” and can potentially lead to mistreatment. 
Patient : In this case, the doctor only sees himself/herself in the patient’s mask, reflecting the fact that a doctor’s diagnose is heavily based on his/her personal experience rather than really knowing what is going on with patients. A doctor can only diagnose based on his/her own knowledge, and that can be an issue.

This is a metaphorical tool representing the situation.



The beginning of when this project begin to form together. The setting and scenario of this problem lies in the present, during a hospital environment when the doctor asks what is wrong with the patient.


This is an artifact illustrating the process of researching such topic. It is a work station filled with research notes, mathematical outputs,