It’s time for finals…is time even real?? This year’s final is probably the most memorable final I have ever had. Because for the first time I’m doing my finals at home, completely away from other stressed-out NYU kids at Bobst. When I started thinking about what I’m going to do for my coding final project, I thought I would create a program inspired by something I learned from this chaotic year.

As I was talking to my dad at home, I realized that I have rarely heard him talk about his feelings. When I asked him about it, he smiled and said “well, because I am a man and I have to be strong”. Now, that just sounds like pure BS from my queer perspective of gender performance. Jokes aside, one thing I have noticed about myself this year is that I have become more conscious of how I feel and I am more willing to reflect on these emotions. Therefore, I decided to make a program that provides people a chance to share whatever they have to say without judgment and encourages them to talk about and reflect on their feelings. …


This week marks our final week working on our final project. As mentioned in the previous blog post, Lily, Sharon, and I are developing a game where participants will be summoning a ghost with different and unique features and characters depending on the users’ personality and how they are feeling at the time. After deciding on our concept, we started talking about the logistics of the project and dividing it into different parts so that we can deliver a prototype by the end of the week.

First, we regrouped and confirmed all the details of our design. We agreed to continue with the idea to use temperature and heartrate sensors as the two deciding elements of the game. Additionally, to make the game control a bit more engaging, we decided to add in a hand gesture that needed to be done by the participants in order to summon the ghost. We talked about several options, such as infrared sensors, cameras, and potentiometers, but finally agreed on using an ultrasound sensor to get the distance of the user’s hands to the control panel, so that we can detect whether a hand gesture is involved. Afterwards, we listed out different action items that needed to be done according to our timeline. We decided that Sharon will be creating the visual elements of the game, Lily will be in charge of building the physical controls, and I will be responsible for writing any scripts needed for the game, documenting, and coordinating our presentation. …


This week, we are continuing to work on our final group project. Following our user research last week, we started talking about some ideas for our design interventions.

First, we took a look at our research results from last week and we found that most people are eager to have more options to socialize, especially in ways that will provide them with meaningful emotional feedback. Based on our survey data, the core of our user group will consist of social media users from age 15 to 35 who love to connect with friends through group activities. …


Finally, this is the week when everything comes together and forms a big fat mess of codes! This week, we are using p5.serialcontrol to connect our Arduino boards to p5.js sketches.

I am going to be fully honest, after watching the videos for this week, which are all super detailed, I still did not know how I can make everything work. So I decided to go a bit easy on myself and just make an adaptation of one of the examples presented in the videos.

First, I set up a simple circuit with one potentiometer on my board, and then I uploaded the Arduino codes to the board. However, it didn’t work the first time around because I didn’t connect my potentiometer to power, so I wasn’t getting any data from the board. I fixed my setup with some help from Scott and data started showing up in the serial monitor. The rest was pretty easy, I hooked my board up with the p5 sketch I created for week 1, and then modified the code so that the shapes would rotate according to the value of the potentiometer. …


Group member: Sharon Wang, Lily Hsiao, Cory Zhao

After some discussion with our group members, we decided to explore how we can connect people through tangible user interfaces for our final project.

Here is the link to our presentation:

To know more about the scope of our project and the contextual information around this subject, we first looked into previous research to understand the different ways people communicate pre-and-post-pandemic. According to an article from the BBC, many people felt estranged and lonely during the first wave of coronavirus lockdowns. This statement was backed by another research that shows that one in two in Australians and two out of three in Britain and the US reported increased loneliness (Ribeiro 2020). …


This week, we are starting our final group project which asks us to design an intervention for a real-world problem. After reading the brief, I quickly started brainstorming and thinking about the kinds of problems that would benefit from intervention from a tech perspective.

I looked around the house and saw a packaging of earplugs that says “women’s earplugs” because they are purple. This made me think about some ridiculously gendered products I have encountered in the past, and how gendered marketing enforces gender stereotypes and sexual binaries.

The discussion around gender neutrality, gender performance, and stereotypes have gained more attention in the online communities. However, this increased visibility still does not translate to a wide acceptance of gender neutrality and greater recognition of sexual stereotypes, especially among non-queer males. …


This week, we are making a love compatibility machine with Arduino. This is actually my first week actually writing codes and running it on Arduino, so it took me some time to find the correct port and setting up everything.

To test the compatibility of two persons, I need to include two inputs for my interface. So I decided to use two potentiometers as my user inputs since they have knobs that can be turned easily and they do not need to be calibrated.

I planned to have two knobs that users will use to turn at the same time, and if they end up turning the knob in the same range (from 100–155), the LED bulb will display a flow of red-pink-purple color to show that they are compatible. If the two knobs are not in the same range, the light bulb will display a blue color. …


This week, we are continuing our last week’s assignment on switches. We are asked to improve or build a switch that provides meaningful feedback to the user. So instead of building on last week’s switch, I decided to build a new one that will notify people to take off their shoes when they enter my apartment.

Inspired by the footswitch Scott showed in class, I decided to use that as the base for my switch. I jotted down some quick ideas on paper:

First, I found a shoebox and cut off the excess cardboard so I have a basic structure to work with. …


“Fast forward 126 years into the future… It’s the year 2145 and the current inhabitants of what was once known as Earth, just made a shocking discovery: your time capsule.”

After humans left their homes for other planets, the Earth became a quiet and serene place for the creatures that are still surviving. The aliens that were captured and kept in Area 51 are among those that are still living and thriving on the now inhabitable Earth.

The aliens celebrated and partied almost every day for the departure of human beings. …


As we are stepping into the second half of this semester, this week we are starting to experiment with electric circuits and physical buildings. To familiarize ourselves with Arduino, we are asked to build a switch that’s not operated by hands for our assignment.

I first attempted to put together a basic circuit with a switch. After I figured out how the switch actually works, I also played around with adding another switch to make a parallel circuit. Then I moved on to building my assignment for the week.

First, I attached some tin foil to the ends of the circuit to extend their lengths. I then started thinking about what other elements could be conductive or could be used to create an interaction without hands. I decided to go with water and attach the two ends of the circuit at different heights so it would serve as an indication of the amount of water left in a glass. However, it seems like water isn’t conductive enough to light up the LED. So I added a lot of salt into the water to resolve this issue. …

Cory Zhao

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