Latest articles

How to Build Your Own Laugh Detector

Recently, an IDEO colleague suggested that the teams that laugh the most are also the teams that are the most successful. I loved this idea, and realized that it might be possible to build an actual laugh detector to test the hypothesis. I decided to go for it. For me, the first step in any […]

Everything’s coming up GANs!

You’ve probably never heard of a GAN, but you’ve likely read stories about what they can do. From generating images of fake celebrities, to creating training data for self-driving cars, and even recreating suggestive (and weird) nude portraits, GANs are everywhere right now. But what exactly is this bleeding edge technology, and what can we do […]

How to Make Cinemagraphs with your iPhone

I’ve always loved cinemagraphs—those endless, hypnotizing loops where part of the frame is still while some areas are gently in motion. When I discovered that I could create these loops natively with iOS 11 (iPhone 6S or newer), I couldn’t wait to try it out. The secret is in iOS 11 Live Photo Effects. To […]

Why Gesture is the Next Big Thing in Design

Since Siri was introduced in 2010, the world has been increasingly enamored with voice interfaces. When we need to adjust the thermostat, we ask Alexa. If we want to put on a movie, we ask the remote to search for it. According to some estimates, some 33 million voice-enabled devices will be in American homes […]

How to Hack a Furby

Our Chicago office has a tradition of giving silly but relevant goodbye gifts to departing colleagues. The goal is to make their exit a little more light hearted for everyone, as well as give our erstwhile colleagues a sort of inside joke to take with them. A few months ago, when a friend and colleague […]

When Identity is a Design Choice

One of the biggest mistakes designers can make is failing to consider the spectrum of users of their product. When it comes to designing lifelike interfaces such as Siri, Alexa, and the Kuri robot, we must think beyond functionality and ask ourselves two questions. What kind of persona should we design for our interfaces, and […]

Making Data Tangible at IDEO’s Chicago Studio

As an industrial designer, I’m always eager to bring together the digital and the physical. So when I discovered that the Chicago studio was collecting data about their energy usage, I decided to create a project that would make that information feel real, teach me more about other disciplines, and serve as a gift to […]

Build Your Own Virtual Magic 8 Ball

As the notorious Nicole S. Kahn—a strong figure in IDEO San Francisco’s Design for Change (D4C) studio—was departing for maternity leave, we were scrambling to figure out what to do during her absence. How would we live without her advice and counsel for four months? To compensate, we decided to build a virtual surrogate to […]

Artistry Matters, Even for a Name Tag

During every project, there’s a moment when it can either become a ton of work, or a little bit of work. That’s the moment I live for—it’s the part where you choose whether to sacrifice some of your time to practice your craft, or just bang something out. (More on this at IDEO’s blog.) For […]

How We Did It: Snapchat-Enabled Safety Goggles

A few weeks ago, while I was in our workshop, I had an idea: If I could modify Snapchat’s Spectacles into a pair of safety goggles, I could document our projects without ever picking up a camera. The purpose for these hybrid safety specs is threefold: We can post images of our projects or build […]

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