Each Friday studios has a different theme. You may join any studio that fits your schedule and has space. This is probably a good place to mention that a few ideas are extremely common year-after-year: coordinating lunch, finding parking, connecting with a study buddy, and splitting a bill with friends. Consider these topics taboo. While there are strong apps in each of these domains, treating these as taboo stretches your brain more.

Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)

Studio leader: Jeremy Blackstone
CSB 272, Friday 8:50am - 10:00am
CSB 272, Friday 12:50pm - 2:00pm

Although crowdsourcing is not a new concept, the advent of the Internet has given it innumerable new possibilities. Allowing people from around the world to combine their efforts has already allowed the synergy to create mammoths such as Indiegogo(crowdfunding), reCAPTCHA(implicit crowdsourcing), Fiverr(macrowork) and Amazon Mechanical Turk(microwork). As crowdsourcing becomes more and more popular, the feats that could be achieved through this model will continue to increase in scope and sophistication. In this studio, we will explore various methods of crowdsourcing and how they can be used to solve the world’s problems.

  • How can crowdsourcing be utilized to solve major social, academic and commercial issues?
  • What can be done to ensure the quality of crowdsourced projects?
  • What new ethical issues could emerge with the rise of crowdsourcing?


Studio leader: Nida Hussain
CSB 272, Friday 10:10am - 11:20am
CSB 272, Friday 11:30am - 12:40pm

My Charizard for your Dragonite. That for this. This for that. We all own many things, both tangible and intangible - a laptop, a name, sweet kicks, memories, knowledge etc. Collectively, there is an incredible wealth of things that people have. This studio will dive into ways of using technology to facilitate the exchange of said things between people. Get creative! Explore all the inventive possibilities behind how we can connect and what we can exchange.

Thought provokers:

  • Are there any moments where you are already exchanging something in person? How can we use technology to enhance that experience?
  • Are there any times where everyday people would love to make a quick exchange, but don’t because of reasons? How can we design applications to take care of those reasons and make such exchanges happen?
  • What are the key qualities of exchange? What’s great about it? What’s not so great about it? When does it work out well? When does it go terribly?

Shake up your Status Quo

Studio leader: Kandarp Khandwala
CSB 180, Friday 8:50am - 10:00am
CSB 180, Friday 11:30am - 12:40pm

When was the last time you thought differently about a fairly usual situation? What was the last new thing you did, out of your comfort zone? A great number of apps did help with managing your productivity, but the horizons have expanded: they can help with many more aspects of your life. Take the example of wearable devices such as smartwatches. With new age sensors that were once too bulky and never imagined in the customer sphere, they help you to exercise harder, stand at regular intervals and even remember to breathe mindfully! What can you do with such improved inputs that ameliorates both day-to-day and extended life? Note that we’re not merely looking for a solution to be adapted into an app and increase screen overload (the best interface is sometimes no interface), but something that brings real change to a not too niche class of people. Examples from a previous offering of the course:, Finally, there are no taboos, but think hard when making a food/recipe, study group or fitness-related app (ask yourself what’s new that doesn’t make it yet another app and if the need addressed is primarily interface-related or elsewhere).


Studio leader: Vincent Liaw
HSS 1346, Friday 12:50pm - 2:00pm
HSS 1346, Friday 2:10pm - 3:20pm

That Post-It notes on the printer. Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally. We’ve utilized the power of mnemonics, stickies, and diagrams to log, externalize, or review information. With the advent of tools like screen sharing, direct messaging and MOOCs, technology has revolutionized the way people find, absorb, and review information. How can we harness technology to help us learn? This studio will explore ways to facilitate the discovery, absorption and retention of knowledge using technology.

  • How might we make learning an easier and more enjoyable experience?
  • How might we help people gather, absorb, and retain knowledge?
  • What are some key aspects of learning? What are the challenges associated with each of these aspects? How can we augment, probe, or facilitate the mind in some of these aspects?
Taboos: Evernote, Quizlet

Democratization of Artificial Intelligence

Studio leader: Chen Yang
CSB 272, Friday 2:10pm - 3:20pm

Artificial intelligence is not new. A recent survey: shows that 58% of technology professionals are researching AI, but only 12% of them are using AI for production. This is partially because AI technology is hard, which required time commitment and a special skill set. However, frameworks powered by the big names in tech such as Microsoft, Google, and IBM are competing to become the Visual Basic of AI, promising point-and-click development of intelligent applications to relatively unsophisticated developers. In this studio, we will utilize existing AI tools to solve design challenges around us. Questions to consider:

  • What design challenges can be solved based on fundamental artificial intelligence?
  • How artificial intelligence inspires design?
  • Can we better human-computer/human machine interaction by combining different fundamentals of artificial intelligence?
  • Attention to issues of ethics and privacy?
  • Biased machine learning algorithm?
Some Great APIs you can use in this Studio: A great web app example in this topic:


Studio leader: Rob Gougelet
CSB 180, Friday 12:50pm - 2:00pm
CSB 180, Friday 02:10pm - 3:20pm

In Buddhism, a disciplined practice of mindful awareness ideally brings about nirvanic liberation from the cycle of rebirth, samsara, and samsara’s resultant dukkha, or non-satisfactoriness and suffering. From a more agnostic and modern psychological view, mindfulness -- defined as moment-to-moment awareness of one's cognitive, emotional, and behavioral, experience, without judgment -- could bring about a reduction in obsessive thinking/rumination, anxiety, depression, stress, and emotional reactivity, as well as an increase in working memory, focus, cognitive flexibility, and relationship satisfaction, in addition to an overall sense of well-being. Today’s culture and technology demand more attention than the mindful awareness of our own experience as sentient beings. There is therefore a standing question for modern technology as to whether it can bring into awareness a person’s experiential state for them, thereby cultivating a sense of mindful awareness instead of distracting them from it. In this studio, we will attempt to design interfaces that imbibe a cyborg-esque layer of “technological mindfulness” upon the user, potentially aiding in the development of mindful awareness within the user themselves. Suggested topics include meditation, spiritual and religious practices, journaling, emotion and thought management, productivity, time management, fitness, health, diet/food, sleep, spending, addictions such as smoking or drinking, socializing/relationships, gaming, or procrastination. These are also suggested taboo topics that teams could avoid in an effort to be more creative.


Studio leader: Celia Durkin
CSB 180, Friday 8:50am - 10:00am
CSB 180, Friday 10:10am-11:20am

With the internet, we are bringing more people together than ever before. From social media to online learning to forums and online support groups, people are interacting. This burst of interaction has the potential to foster empathy among users, although some online social environments decrease empathetic behavior. This studio will examine how to increase empathy in online social environments and what parts of the online social experience lack empathy. Some questions to consider:

  • How can we design to increase pro-social behavior, foster social complexity, and increase emotional intelligence?
  • What are the physical and social cues that increase empathy with one another, and how do these differ in online environments?
  • What role does the shared experience of our bodies in space play in empathy?
  • How does empathy play a role in the design process itself?


Studio leader: Daniel Kong
HSS 1346, Friday 10:10am - 11:20am
HSS 1346, Friday 11:30am - 12:40pm

As we become more connected with technology, it is redefining how we interact with the people and the world around us. Utilizing the power of the smartphone, and advanced web applications, we’ve been able to achieve a level of collaboration like never before. Think Google Docs, Waze, Piazza. There are great opportunities for creating scalable software that will allow users to collaborate on almost anything. Collaboration software helps create a community of users whose needs can be met by fostering cooperation.

  • What are some ideas or tasks that might benefit from a collective community?
  • How can we encourage others to collaborate through the use of technology and smart devices?
Taboos: Google Docs, Pinterest