Wander Learning is a series of field guides geared towards elementary ecological education that aims to teach 2nd-4th grade wanderers about the natural world through exploration and discovery in the U.S.'s National Parks. Right now there are four planned series each focusing on a different major aspect of the ecological world. For each series there are 13+ versions, each with different content specifically cited for National Parks and ecological zones around the U.S.
This project incorporates much of the research I compiled for my senior thesis, most of it going into the first versions of the Connections Series. This is a project that I plan on continuing an perfecting as I leave school and enter the professional design realm.
The Connection Series is the first of four series.
The first four series planned are Geology, Connections, Plants, and Animals.
The Connection Series focuses on Habitat and Competition, Symbiotic Relationships, and Invasive Species.
Each series comes in 13+ different versions, each cited specifically for the National Parks and ecological zones around the United States. Planned National Park versions include the Shenandoah, Acadia, Great Smokey Mountains, Mammoth Cave, Everglades, Hot Springs, Big Bend, Saguaro, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Joshua Tree, Sequoia, Yosemite, and Olympic National Parks.
Many of the theories of Discovery Learning have informed the basic principles of Wander Learning.
Keri Smith and her exploration and excavation of the Wander Society have greatly influenced the creation of Wander Learning, informing key values of Wander Learning.
Excerpt from Habitat and Competition in the Shenandoah National Park.
UAV: Landmine Detection
This project was a collaborative project to devise a way to utilize unmanned areal vehicle technology to detect land mines, I acted as a designer and facilitator with a team of physicists, geographic information scientists, writing and technical communicators and other designers and were mentored by Nobel peace prize winning activist Dr. Ken Rutherford. We designed and built a drone detection system that takes a three-pronged approach to detect land mines to reduce the number of false positives inherent in current landmine detection techniques and to keep human to mine interaction at an absolute minimum.
Image of prototype used in the final exhibiton.
The way it works is the drone will sweep the same area of land three different times, each with a different sensor.
The data from each of those sweeps is transmitted to a software that overlays them in to one comprehensive data map, revealing what is hiding underneath the surface.
My team of physicists, geographic information scientists, writing and technical communicators and other industrial designers.
The team getting an introduction to arduino coding.
I got the opportunity to work with and facilitate the design process with thinkers who draw their origins from something other than Stanford’s design thinking handbook. I got to learn some of the logic and thinking that goes into coding the drones’ systems, and on the complete opposite end of the spectrum I got to learn a way and style of written communication that was completely new to me.
Teaching the team about the design thinking process, specifically the brainstorming process where initially no idea is a bad idea!
An initial prototype.
Testing out the metal detection sensor.
I got to work as a collaborative design facilitator; bringing the whole project together into one final exhibition.
The whole project got picked up by the UN Mine Action Gateway and was featured on their News page.
Home is a lightweight fold-able, portable homeless shelter designed for those without a night-time residence specifically in the Washington DC metro area as a temporary emergency shelter. It is branded with the same visual language as the metro system in an attempt to legitimize the homeless population’s position within society and start to address the negative stigma that follows them around. Home takes advantage of simple geometric patterns to turn cheap lightweight materials in a structure sturdy enough to withstand wind and rain. Home can be put up and taken down in a matter of seconds and can also be transformed into a half-dome shelter to shield against the sun.
Home is branded with the same visual language as the Washington, D.C. subway system in an attempt to bring legitimacy to the homeless population's position within society.
Some initial prototypes and process photos.
Home can be zipped up and snapped together in seconds to create the main cocoon shelter. Home can be tipped an folded over to create a half-dome shelter for use in the sun. Home can be unzipped, folded up, and snapped shut in seconds for easy and light transport.
Half-dome and travel configurations.
One thing that is truely unique about Home is it's potential for grand social change. If the homeless population is given the same visual importance as something so essential to dc urban life how might the potential for change increase? How might their voices be better heard?
In the summer 2015 I had the opportunity to intern at littleBits with their product design team. littleBits is a platform of electronic building blocks that are color coded and snap together to create inventions large and small; making learning and creating easy and fun for everyone no matter their skill level. My role at littleBIts was to work with the product team to design projects that showcase the bits and guide users through the product in a meaningful and inspiring way. While I was there I designed and built a pinball machine out of bits and LEGOs that was included in the release of their Gizmos and Gadgets Kit October 2015 to tease at the endless possibilities when you combine these two platforms.
You play as an alien who accidentally ended up on an earth space craft and is just trying to get home to the mothership. But watch out, you've got to avoid comets, black holes, solar flares, and spinning stars! When you do make it back you can hear and see the mothership blasting off into the galaxy!
I worked with the end user, observing an learning how they interact with the product, and bringing that knowledge back to design projects that would spark their imagninations.
'Prutility' can be defined as the combination of Priss and Utility. This piece was conceived and created while working in the BASE Beijing studio in Caochangdi, Beijing. Gathering inspiration from the many unique smocks worn by workers in and around the village of Caochangdi, Prutility is a transitional garment created to transform from a daytime artists' smock to an every-day garment. The original garment design and first prototype were created by myself, Mary Brown, and Emily Robinson, two other students working in the studio. I constructed the final prototype with deliberate material choices to embody both the Chinese culture and environment around us, and the shared materiality of artists across the globe. The garment is made out of sheer linen, canvas, and bamboo.
I was greatly influenced by the political landscape of China and the contemporary artists of Beijing. This led to the incorporation of aspects of security and armor into the final design.
Examples of smocks found in Caochangdi.
Final materials; canvas, bamboo, chiffon.
Bloom is a hyper-intelligent kinetic sculpture installation that questions the way we design public space. The installation consists of three different scales of object, the smallest being 'seat', then 'table', and the largest being 'space' which is eight feet tall. The sculptures are placed in Nakano Park in Tokyo, Japan where they begin a three phase performance. In the first phase they are static, observing how people are using the space around them. In the second phase they move around and aid the interactions they observed in the first phase. Finally, in the third phase they specifically counter and obstruct the interactions from the first two phases. The sculptures are constructed of two overlapping core structures, and encased by a skin consisting of many individual parts that expand and contract from the core structures of the sculpture that allow it's movement and transformations.
Levshare is a new kind of electric bike. Utilizing the same Magnetic Levitation technology as the 'Bullet Trains' of China and Japan, Levshare bikes provide you with a smooth and friction-less ride without the hassle and strain of having to pedal uphill. Handling the bike is simple, pedal faster to go faster, back pedal to break; no more fussing with gears and greasy chains. Levshare bikes work within a bike sharing program, originally designed for people to get around the Harrisonburg area, with many share stations where subscribers can pick up and drop off bikes with their personalized keyfob. Parking at JMU is a hassle no matter the time of day, but with levshare stations placed in key residential and commercial areas, and with a substantially lower yearly subscription cost than an on-campus parking pass, levshare aims to reduce vehicle traffic and make commuting within Harrisonburg much easier.