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.
This year, the students of the MFA Products of Design took home 4 honors in this year's Core77 Design Awards! The recognized work spanned multiple categories—from Service Design to Design for Social Impact to Strategy and Research. Check them out below, and click to see the complete projects on Core77!
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.