With an exponentially rising aging population, there are many individual health concerns for the population. Ocarina addresses a disease that affects almost half of the senior population called sarcopenia, which is a progressive loss of skeletal muscle strength and function associated with aging. Older adults with sarcopenia are at higher risk of serious injuries, increasing hospitalization and mortality rate. The current healthcare system is insufficient to provide effective and continuous care for sarcopenia. How can we manage this physiological inevitability by enabling aging populations for long-term autonomy?
In order to prevent or delay sarcopenia development, we need to maximize muscle in early life, maintain muscle in middle age, and minimize loss in older age. Ocarina guides users through their life course aging journey, helping them understand their strength status and continue accessible and optimized care. It provides an integrated process of measurement and treatment, involving multilevel social interventions to retain motivation. Across all weakening factors, this product empowers users to be aware of their own strength and take appropriate measures.
makeContact: Mobilizing Resources for Survivors after Tragedy
Advised by Arianna Mazzeo (SEAS) and Luba Greenwood (SEAS)
In the aftermath of mass tragedies, communities must navigate significant trauma beyond the number of people killed or wounded. The reality being that trauma manifests differently across individuals, making resiliency a complex, personalized journey. Across instances of disaster, communities must respond to mass crises not only in the short term, but in managing long-term trauma as well. In some cases, such as after a mass shooting in a school, individuals must attempt to resume daily living in the site of their trauma, regularly facing retraumatization through the sights, smells, and sounds reminiscent of that day. While interviewing student survivors of mass shootings, I discovered nuances in accessing healing unique to this population: student survivors are typically dismissed during decision-making, lack the rights or ability to self-advocate, and are largely dependent on a caretaker. Designing around a population with these barriers better enables us to consider solutions across ages and other tragedies involving localized crisis response. If we can understand what student survivors need, how to engage them, and how to improve their utilization of relevant healing services, we may deter unhealthy and dangerous coping behaviors that often manifest after a traumatic event and improve PTSD healing. To do this, I evaluated several crisis responses across disasters, including mass shootings, terrorist attacks, and natural disaster, and observed that immediately after mass tragedy, a rapid influx of donations, emergency services, and volunteers help communities deal with initial shock and loss. But then short-term crisis support subsides, and survivors are left unsupported in the interim while communities prepare more permanent services. Thus, I introduce my systemic intervention makeContact, a new service model for intermediate crisis response that helps connect survivors and communities with the right resources after mass tragedy. By designing a platform that enables communities to rapidly and repeatedly evaluate survivor needs in the aftermath of crisis, communities can call for more targeted resources at different periods in healing—whether it’s professional skills, time, or donations—to address the otherwise unknown and unmet needs of survivors.
Buildings and construction account for 28 percent of global carbon emissions, and the energy demand is expected to keep growing. It is often cheaper to meet energy demands through energy efficiency measures than through the provision of alternative, greener energy supplies, since it is costly and takes time to build large-scale energy infrastructure. LEED+ and technological innovation in building materials and construction work for new buildings, but the flipside is improving existing buildings to make them more efficient.
To drive adoption, many organizations and initiatives issue rebates, incentives, and services. These tools are already out there, but there are unaddressed gaps between knowledge and action that make home improvement a nightmare for homeowners. This project aims to accelerate home energy- efficiency measures and action at scale, from the perspective of homeowners working together with existing tools and partners to streamline the process, proposing attainable steps to ease the transition to more efficient homes and align with local climate action plans.
A revolution in mobility began three years ago. And in no city is bike infrastructure up to the task. Millions of people are using e-scooters, e-bikes, and e-mopeds to commute, but the streets we use are unsafe and undesirable. The problem is that while cities might choose to build bike lanes, most built bike lanes are inadequate to support the growth of greener modes of transport.
Comfort Maps is a tool for advocates to use real-time street safety datain discussions with policymakers. Combining a physical hardware device that mounts on the handlebars of a bicycle or e-scooter with a data visualization platform, Comfort Maps creates a safe and easy method for rating the comfort levels of streets. These ratings and snapshots provide a photographic lived experience that could not easily be captured and shared before.
The Comfort Maps data visualization platform provides insights into problem hotspots with real evidence. It also provides open data for circuity metrics and transit services to use for improved routing directions. Lastly, the platform aggregates patterns into visible trends, offering support to advocates in the form of sharable visualizations that illustrate the lived experience of the bike lane.
What does the future of civil discourse look like?
Forty-one percent of all Harvard students across the political spectrum have reported feeling uncomfortable expressing their opinions to others at Harvard. Through extensive interviews and collaborative design workshops, I discovered that students who have experienced negative discourse become less interested in sharing their opinions and shut down, keeping their opinions to themselves or to their closest friends who share their exact beliefs. Challenging the moral intuitions and world views of others is hard, and current conditions do not make it any easier.
Many factors that influence political discourse are systemic—political, cultural, social, and technological—and creating human-centered interventions across these systems is no small feat. This project seeks to use design not only to create “things,” but also to create ideas and to speculate about how future discourse could create a new space for discussion and reflection about our own values, beliefs, and behavior.
With the goal of creating conversation about what the future of discourse could look like, I borrowed principles from strategic foresight and speculative design to explore a spectrum of combinations of technology and ideology, so multiple futures can be presented and encountered. To illustrate the differences between the worlds, examples of how people engage in discourse is demonstrated through various scenarios, experiences, and artifacts.
People have different understandings of civil discourse and the implications of it. By worldbuilding and writing “design fiction,” people who do not have a deep understanding of the mechanics of civil discourse are included in the exploration of its implications to better prepare for the future and, ideally, steer the world toward a more “preferable” future.
Mink’a: Facilitated Experience for the Goal of Sustainable Livelihood
Advised by Arianna Mazzeo (SEAS), Libby McDonald (MIT), and Doris Sommer (FAS)
Women workers in the informal economy of Latin America need sustainable livelihoods. To achieve impactful and sustainable change, they need to decide on their individual and communal well-being goals with agency, which they commonly lack.
Working with the hypothesis that by supporting and strengthening their creative capacities and life skills, women will actively work toward a sustainable livelihood, formulating plans to achieve their individual and communal aspirations and well-being goals, I have designed Mink’a.
Mink’a is a facilitated community experience that proposes a process to guide informal women workers to organize through a shared identity. Mink’a supports the group’s ability to make free and informed choices toward their sustainable livelihood. In this process, women work through different activities that strengthen their creative capacities and train them in life skills.
The proposed experience has two important touchpoints: a woman from the community, trained as a facilitator for the process, and activity kits. Activity kits are composed of a series of exercises or activities for each step of the process. The main purpose of the kit is to provide the community with all the resources they will need.
Mink’a is the result of analyzing and exploring academic theory and existing methods and frameworks around the steps of the proposed process and adapting this process based on what I have learned in participatory action research collaborating with a community of artisanal gold miners in Sechocha, Peru, and small-scale milk producers in Turucucho, Ecuador.