(3) MIT SENSEable City Lab Projects


Video: http://senseable.mit.edu/trashtrack/trashtrack_release.mov


“Trash Track visualizes individual traces of trash objects. Everyday objects at some point in their life cycle are declared of no more use by their owners and cross the fine line between being a proudly owned utility item and a trash object”…

“TrashTrack uses hundreds of small, smart, location aware tags: a first step towards the deployment of smart-dust – networks of tiny locatable and addressable microeletromechanical systems.These tags are attached to different types of trash so that these items can be followed through the city’s waste management system, revealing the final journey of our everyday objects in a series of real time visualizations.

The project is an initial investigation into understanding the ‘removal-chain’ in urban areas and it represents a type of change that is taking place in cities: a bottom-up approach to managing resources and promoting behavioral change through pervasive technologies. TrashTrack builds on previous work of the SENSEable City Lab in its exploration of how the increasing deployment of sensors and mobile technologies radically transforms how we understand and describe cities.”



“The SkyCall quadcopter, designed by research group Senseable City Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, acts like an electronic flying guide dog, hovering just ahead of the user and guiding them to their destination.”

“The urban UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) will guide us in disorienting situations, support search and rescue efforts, track environmental problems, and even act as digital insects re-introducing natural biodiversity to our man-made environments,” he added. “As a networked intelligence with a physical form, the urban UAV offers an alternative interface to the digital layers of the city.” – via Dezeen


The Urban Village

Go to the site to play with an interactive infographic that shows how human interaction scales with city size

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“Human interaction networks can be inferred from billions of anonymized mobile phone records. This study, focusing on Portugal and the UK, reveals a fundamental pattern: our social connections scale with city size. People who live in a larger town make more calls and call a larger number of different people. The scaling of this relation is ‘superlinear,’ meaning that on average, if the size of a town doubles, the sum of phone contacts in the city will more than double – in a mathematically predictable way.”

“Surprisingly, however, group clustering (the odds that your friends mutually know one another) does not change with city size. It seems that even in large cities we tend to build tightly knit communities, or ‘villages,’ around ourselves. There is an important difference, though: if in a real village our connections might simply be defined by proximity, in a large city we can elect a community based on any number of factors, from affinity to interest to sexual preference.”

See all projects here


Three Questions Part 3

Three Life Questions continues. Watch the video to find out where these Bostonians have traveled, what the nicest thing someone’s done for them is and what they would write a book about if they could write about anything.

5 Creative Instagram Accounts You Should Follow


This one is obvious, because their twitter and website are equally good/better, but Design Milk is always there when you need some inspiration.



HER creative is run by Heather Rivendell who is an interior designer. Everything in here is clean and elegant.



Cedric Dasesson shoots absolutely stunning photos. Follow if you like staring at beautiful natural scenes.



The Carbon Copy’s instagram is full of striking concepts. Go for the vibrant colors and bold lines. Tumblr.



Mboligstyling is great at capturing modern interiors. Check out their website too!

Small-scale manufacturers and workshops in Istanbul

When I was in Istanbul two months ago, I was struck by how many handmade household goods there were for sale at the grand bazaar. I always wondered what the makers’ studios look like, how the goods were made, and if the makers worked in fair conditions.

I found out recently that my friend, Rezzan, spent time this spring studying the exploitation of underground metal-smiths and woodworkers in Istanbul for her graduate thesis at Sabanci University. She worked hard to find and contact these workers, who don’t often publicize where they hone their craft. Most of them have worked in their industry for 30+ years, starting as apprentices and rising to become masters of their craft. Her photography reveals old and young people who work tirelessly to produce quality goods in all kinds of environments. All images are Copyright Rezzan Hasoglu.




6 Things I learned from 3 Talks at UXPA Boston 2014


Things I learned from UXPA – The TL;DA (Too Long; Didn’t Attend) Version

Designing for Large Touch Interfaces

  1. Make sure people know they can touch the screen.
  2. Orientation affects how users perceive the kiosk
  3. Transitions are important as cues when navigating. Use gestures everyone is familiar with.
  4. Designer is also a performer – make them look good
  5. Height is important. Make sure user can reach the cancel button
  6. Adjust the drag and inertia on objects. Don’t make large objects feel “heavy.”

Designing with Real Data

  1. Fake data = fake design = fake feedback = wrong decisions. Real data will enter the equation eventually.
  2. Understand the data
  3. Organize data into information to enable users to gain knowledge
  4. Real data has a min and max, an average and a distribution. Think about this when designing screens with potentially extremely short or long text. Consider the outliers.
  5. You can do a lot with Indesign Datamerge/Kimono/Chartwell fontface/Sublimetext/Screenscraper chrome extension.
  6. Ben Salinas (@bensalinas) from Involution Studios is a REAL unicorn.

Design Psychology

  1. Self-determination theory levels: amotivated/external/introjected/identified/integrated/intrinsic
  2. Motivation is autonomy, competence, relatedness
  3. If you want people to do something, minimize external pressures and maximize internal ones
  4. Establish shared rules of engagement
  5. Convey belongingness
  6. If you use social media – be responsive to your customers.


Design Food for This Week

Crystal Rock Lighting by Arik Levy for Lasvit


These lamps are a collection of precisely cut glass fixtures that resemble meteorites. The surfaces of the lamp create interesting reflections and deflections of light.


Natri shirts are minimalistic and well-designed.





Tile is small plastic chip that you can attach to an object to help detect its location. The tiles work within a certain distance range, but other people’s tiles can pick up your lost item. It comes with an iPhone app. Definitely something I need.



Free iPhone Vector Wireframing Toolkit

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Here is a free iPhone wireframing toolkit for Illustrator CC. (The attachment is on the linked page.) It is possibly the most comprehensive template on the interwebz. I spent hours and hours on this, so please share it! Free for commercial and personal use.

3 Questions in Boston: Asking people about favorite things and biggest fears

I’m continuing my three question video series in Boston. It’s been fun getting to talk to random people about things they like about the city and what they’re afraid of. Thanks to everyone who decided to help me by being in the video.