Shadowing Activity – Behavior Map

Shadowing Activity is an assignment we did as part of the Design Usability Class, in which we had to shadow a person’s (shopper’s) behavior at a store to buy a specific item.  In this case, we were to find ‘Command Hanging Utility Hooks’ at Bed, Bath & Beyond and the The Container store on 6th Ave, New York. I partnered up with Jasmine Oh, and for each behavior map we had to draw the floor map of the store, draw the shopper’s path, note the pain and success points, and note the overall differences between the stores.



Thesis Concept Statement

A thesis is not just a creative project. It is the systematic study of a research domain, investigated in order to achieve some larger goal. The thesis creative project is usually a means to frame a response to the research investigation.  When embarking on a thesis, it is important to consider:
Context: what are your areas of inquiry, what are you studying, and why?

Sustainable Cities and Responsible Tourism

We are inquiring into how cities can be sustainable in order to overcome environmental, economic and social challenges. We are researching on how and why tourism can play an effective role in making cities sustainable. The impact of tourism on the environment and social structures. How they influence the standard of living and lifestyle of local residents. We are trying to understand how local governments and departments can play an efficient role in sustainable efforts.

We are studying this in the light of climate change and other environmental challenges that hamper the growth and life expectancy of cities.

Intention: what do you plan to make, and why? How is this making a response to your inquiry?

We plan to make a mobile application (potentially with a web component) that can be used by tourists to help them make responsible choices to help keep the cities they visit sustainable and resilient as more and more people keep heading into cities. We plan to consider game mechanics and Augmented Reality, include location services and motion recognition, and work in either Swift, React Native, or Angular JS. We are making this to respond to the problem of tourists contributing to the decline of cities. This app is making a response by informing tourists and nudging them (potentially through game mechanics and incentives) to make the better decisions for the city’s resilience.
Impact: what is the goal of your project, why is it important, and why should we care?

The goal of our project is to implement and have a flexible system in place that can be easily adopted by cities at a global level.

To get tourists interested in sustainable efforts while engaging them in experiences that make their travel seamless.
We should care because we live in cities and we love cities and want to keep them resilient, we also identify as tourists often and don’t want to be part of the problem- we want to help it.

Grid of 9


“We would like to research local governments and the citizens participation in them. From this research we will create a narrative where local governments can provide pertinent information to increase citizens’ participation.”

1. A platform where local governments can choose to opt in and provide pertinent information such as election dates and information about candidates that is then readily available to citizens just by typing in their zip code.

2. Local government chatbot (on fb messenger / Google Allo) – find out information about your local government’s election days/candidates & their stances from the bot. Have the bot remind you of important dates to vote or participate. (alternative to email spamming or apps) Interactive UI using editable cards or pdfs to enter information, carousel of info cards / images.

3. Social media platform for local governments where citizens can post ideas and initiatives for their local area on a moderated platform, where others can vote for their idea- based on the popularity or “trending” ideas-  the government could choose to take action on the idea. Vice versa for ideas generated by the govt.


“We would like to research cities that are likely to get affected by the rising sea levels and climate change. From this research we will create a system or a platform that helps local governments in taking actions to make their cities sustainable and have responsible tourism.”

1. A product built on top of Google maps that allows users to find the scenic or accessible routes/small businesses/sustainable alternatives (ie bike shops over bus tours, drinking water taps, etc.)

2. An augmented reality tour guide that gamifies the tourist walking experience- making them take sustainable approaches to tourism. The product would include recieving badges for accomplishing certain tasks- and it can even be a somewhat curated experience based off of the user’s interests.

3. Sharing networks: being able to share your network with a group of people for a short period of time such as a week while traveling.


“We would like to research the benefits of a shared economy for large cities. From this research we will identify products / services that citizens could share in order to reduce the pressure on resources.”

1. An app that helps you find people who can offer assistance in running household errands, traveling, hobbies, shopping, packing, cooking, etc. Works on hashtags data that has been identified by the skills people can offer.

2. Food trucks for local communities to help feed the homeless or the less fortunate. Citizens can donate leftover food to the food trucks, who collate the items into a daily menu. The homeless can go to these trucks and pick from the selection of dishes for the day. #reducefoodwastage #redistribution

3. Using the energy produced from running on a treadmill, using an elliptical, or cycling to reduce the energy costs of gyms.


“We would like to research companies/governments that build trust on transparency. From this research we will create a way to help boost the significance of transparency in these area’s in today’s world.”

1. A platform where companies can opt in to include all of the information they feel makes them transparent- users can come on the site to see the level of a company’s transparency. The more a company fills out, the higher their transparency percentage will go.

2. A platform specific to transparency in health. A place that busts myths about the foods you eat and the drugs you take, where people can comment and discuss the positives and negatives of certain foods we eat and drugs we take.

3. An informative projection mapping on landmarked buildings in lower manhattan. The projection shows data structures of the planning of these buildings in aesthetic blueprints. The projection would then highlight how these urban planning structures can be made sustainable to combat the rising sea levels.

Canopied under the concept of “inside out”.

*Since I am collaborating with Raha Ghassemi on my Thesis, we have come up with 4 concepts that makes it a grid of 12.

birds of tomorrow – fall final project


Concept :

It is the year 2075, Earth has witnessed ‘The Sixth Extinction’. It is believed the Nuclear War or as we popularly call it the World War III could have played the last scene in this epoch. The ability of humans to adapt is being challenged by long exposures to climate change. Increasingly, this is leading to widespread epidemics and plague, making it difficult for humans to walk freely outdoors. Thus raising questions about their survival. Having reached the tipping point of extinctions, they have understood how to bring back species from the dead. Could robotics be the answer?

Thus, I propose BOT – the birds of tomorrow as a speculative design piece for the post-apocalyptic world.

BOT is a personal bird robot that is taxidermic in nature and has been brought back to life using A.I. to help humans in environmental monitoring and communication. It is believed to be a successor for the personal drones present today.



Concept Statement :

I am creating a speculative design piece which is a provocative commentary to evoke feelings of anxiety about the loss of habitat & species and thoughts about how human activities have impacted them in the context of the future of our existence and threats involved.


BOT Birds of Tomorrow from Shikha Singh on Vimeo.


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OpenFrameworks Final Project


Birds  are the most omnipresent, most recognizable representatives of the other species that share the fate of the planet with us. However, with the advent of human activities, in terms of climate change, habitat destruction, the birds species are being threatened leading to their extinction. 

I want to create an installation using openFrameworks to show how human activities impact the existence of birds.

I will be using the add on flocking to depict the movement of the birds. Using firmata and Arduino I’d bring about the interaction between human world and the natural world.

Final Video

Below is a precedence to what I want to achieve (this example using kinect however).

“The treachery of sanctuay” Chris Milk


the last leaf


‘The last leaf’ on the planet Earth is now up for display at the Museum of the Natural History. The leaf is breathing its last and is expected to die by the end of the week. The exhibition opens today in Room 609 at 7PM, visitors are invited to come view this spectacle of our rich environmental past. If you wish to extend your empathies towards this leaf, you may do so, with a gentle human touch. 

We are today living in the epoch of the Anthropocene, an epoch where human activities started to have a significant global impact on Earth’s ecosystems. The human- kind has caused mass extinctions of plant and animal species, polluted the oceans and altered the atmosphere, among other lasting impacts. The plant communities that provide humans with food, help purify water supplies, generate oxygen, and supply raw materials for building, clothing etc. are now threatened by development, invasive species and climate change. We are so captivated by the idea of finding life on another planet that we have lost interest in our own. Conservation and management efforts need to be taken if we wish to coexist in an ecosystem that nurtures us all. If not, we may be at the risk of entering an eco-apocalypse that we may not return from. 

The last leaf is a satirical piece to depict this eco-apocalypse. It uses the concept of eco-psychology to understand ways of expanding emotional connection between individuals and the environment they live in.  The concept of biomimicry has also been applied to execute the appearance of the leaf and how it breathes when nurtured with water, nutrients and care.

This Arduino based project uses a servo motor, a capacitive sensor and rare earth magnets. The servo motor has two large rare earth magnets attached to it, which pull the leaf downwards, this is to portray the death of the leaf. When the sensor is touched by an individual, the leaves rise to depict the movement of breathing. This is to convey how humans could use some empathy towards their planet to bring it back to life.

“The environment is in us, not outside of us. The trees are our lungs, the rivers our bloodstream. We are all interconnected, and what you do to the environment ultimately you do to yourself.” – Ian Somerhalder



Link to code


I’d like to thank Ayodamola Okunseinde and Julie Huynh for guiding me through this project.

Here is the LCD that I had soldered for this project, to be able to read a message form the leaf. However I thought it was unnecessary and didn’t use it.