Augmented Reality Storytelling by Tyler Rhorick

Reading Response

Blippar Intervention

Live Broadcast AR

For the Live Broadcast AR assignment, I was part of the team that tried to augment the IMA equipment room to tell the story of a student who was murdered by a cat for turning in equipment late.

Personal Reflection– Overall, the process of converting the space to tell our story with the green screen went pretty well. I would say that our biggest challenge in creating accurate scale, perspective, and lighting. As for the scale and perspective, we were able to achieve a believable enough positioning of the “victim” student after moving the camera angle and Diana multiple times, but the lighting was one thing we could never remedy. I think this means that for the future we should pay better attention to lighting conditions to give our final image a better overall effect. I think we could have figured it out if given more time, however, so I am not too sad walking away from this assignment.

Your Photogrammetry

Photogrammetry remained to be one of the most difficult assignments of the semester for me, for reasons I still cannot understand. What I was trying to do in this project was create a 3D model of the meowspace to further our story we created in the Live Broadcast, but this proved to be more difficult than anticipated because of the following challenges:

    • The real MeowSpace couldn’t be used– Because the meowspace was under modification when this project was assigned, my original plan failed. I was lucky to find a 3D model of meowspace in the lab that I ended up using, but this did cause some slight panic in the beginning.
  • Creating an accurate scan- The biggest problem with creating a photogrammetry model persisted to be difficulty in capturing images that could successfully be used by the program. I think I had a difficult time because the image I was trying to scan was pretty uniform in texture and lighting was hard to control against the surface of the structure.
  • Software- Another big problem that I had was in using the software. Even if the pictures were bad I could never figure out why the program never showed me a model after following the steps in the tech template. I had shown this problem to Christian, but we still couldn’t figure out what was happening.

Here is a folder containing all of the countless cat pictures I took trying to do this assignment.

Your Game Design Document

Here is our Game Design powerpoint.

Your Core Mechanic Documentation

Here is our Core Mechanic powerpoint.

Your MR interview with Storyboard and Scan

Because there was a misunderstanding when the groups were making their way into the green screen room, Matuez and me got split from our larger group where we had made a storyboard to play off the idea of the Sims. Because of this, we had to make a new model and storyline on the spot. To make the figure, we chose Adobe Fuse because it was quick and simple. We decided to make Vladimir Putin wearing makeup because of the recent ban on such imagery in Russia. As for the interview, it was decided that I would interview Matuez acting like Vladimir about such topics like Russia , the Ukraine, and his makeup.

Here you can see the video and Matuez’s perspective of the experience.

Immersive Sound

For the immersive sound project I decided to use Unity because my Max MSP trial gave out. To do this in unity I watched several tutorials on youtube. Basically the lesson of these tutorials was basically that you need to turn on 3D sound by changing the spacial blend. Using this technique I created a simple player and audio track of the NYU Shanghai alma matter. This player walks around the scene and the sounds get fainter as the player walks away. Here is a screen shot to see what I changed in the audio part to make it 3D.

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Final Project

Project Title: Shanghai Storylines

Partner: Mateuz

Elevator Brief: Shanghai Storylines is an Augmented Reality history experience that communicates the history of Shanghai’s Pudong area. Using their phone, the user can explore the Pudong area of Shanghai and learn more about the history that has often been untold of the area. The project imagines what Shanghai would have looked like from the NYU Shanghai academic building throughout history.

Extended Description: Shanghai Storylines is made technically possible using Unity and Vuforia. To start the experience the user walks up to an old Shanghai style window. Upon scanning the Vuforia marker, the user is introduced to the experience. The first view the user is made privy to is our imaged view of Shanghai from the NYU Shanghai Academic Building in the early 1900’s. The landscape was made in Unity.

Technology: Unity, Smart Phone, Vuforia

Development: Before we could start the project, we had to do a great deal of research concerning the history of Shanghai. To start this research, I met with Anna Greenspan, as a professor that has focused on the urbanization of China. She shared with me very interested texts talking about the historic foliage of Shanghai, which was research we used in the final project when we selected to make all of the trees broadleaf evergreen models, in accordance with Shanghai’s historic ecosystem. After this research was done, we needed a better idea of what was actually built in Pudong. Though we had the idea that it was just going to be fishing villages based on widespread “knowledge,” we still decided to research to make sure that was the correct narrative.

The first lead we got on the prior history of Shanghai came from finding a map on google images of the old Shanghai area. After researching more about this map, it showed that this map was one of very few of the area at the time and is widely considered one of the most reliable models of the area at the time.  Here is that map below:

Shanghai 1945

This map proved to be monumental in moving forward because it gave us the information that Pudong was not always called Pudong, but rather was formerly called Pootung. This information helped us find much more information about the area because this is what scholars have always referred to the area as. In searching for Pootung, we came across one book by Paul French called Old Shanghai. With a very detailed description of the Pootung area, we decided to dedicate our project to his research, which included a very colorful history of old Shanghai that included a foreign cemetery for those that died at sea, foreign occupation of a land controlled by the Chinese government, and animal warehouses that doubled in the nightly trade of prostitutes.

After we finished all of the research which took up most of our time in the first weeks to make sure that we were telling a compelling narrative, we began working on the technical side of the project. In hindsight, we should have started this part of the project way sooner because Matuez and me both had no experience in Unity nor 3D modeling.

Because of this we decided to split up the Unity work. I decided to work on getting the core mechanism of Vuforia working, while Matuez worked figuring out how to get the landscapes started. When it came to getting Vuforia working, we first decided that we wanted to markerless markers, but this proved to be more difficult than we anticipated, so we went back to using a marker. I also worked on getting the core mechanism of buttons and text boxes working so that we could communicate the story of Shanghai. While I was doing this Matuez was learning how to make terrains in Unity. He sent me a working model with the terrains started and then I watched the same tutorials to finish up the models. To modify what he gave me I decided to shape the terrain actually like that of Pudong. He had given me a square terrain, but I decided to be truer to the history we should try and get the right shape to the terrain. To do this I made a plane layer of maps from new and old and sculpted the landscape. Here is how that process looked.

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I also decided to add water to the scene, which I also attached a script to make the water move. In addition to this I flushed out some of the areas of the experience to give it a better sense of history like the docks, graveyard, and factory part. Here are some screen grabs of the finalized look of some of these areas.

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All of the assets were made from other elements of the free asset store. For instance, I made docks out of extremely large and distorted pallets from a warehouse collection on unity.

In the end, our mechanisms definitely worked and I think we gave a great history of the region with the time we had. For the future, I would like to expand the historical content of the project and work to make the buttons and menus feel more integrated in the experience.

Here is a video of the mechanisms working:

Developing Web (All Documentation) by Tyler Rhorick


  1. Fan Website and Code Academy (
  2. Video Embedding (
  3. Giphy Galaxy (API Assignment) (

Code Academy (Java and JavaScript)

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Reflection: After having completed all of the assigned CodeAcademy, I must say that there are real serious pros and cons to these lessons. One of the biggest pros I would say in using these lessons was a development of base understanding. After having done all of these lessons, I can confidently say that I can look at a section of code and have an idea of what is happening in the code. With that said, I wish these lessons had more practical examples. Often the courses make you do a task that seems pointless because it would not be used that commonly in practice. For instance, there was one memorable part where they were trying to force me to make a counting function. I thought that having more useful examples would be helpful.


Responsive Website

For my responsive website, I decided to make a responsive portfolio, since this was going to be a requirement for my senior capstone. Drawn to dark colors that would allow the vibrancy of my work to stand out, I decided to go with a black and grey theme. Also, in order to get a good understanding of how to code the website, I avoided any frameworks like bootstrap, etc. Here is what the current website looks like on a larger browser:

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And here is how it comes responsive:

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After receiving feedback, I decided that I needed to do a better job at figuring out the spacing and design of the top header, since many people thought it might be confusing. I also got recommended to maybe include a bit of color and that the pictures might look better without the borders. With these critiques I decided to make modifications and created what in the end became my portfolio shown below:

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The original project can be accessed on the NYU server at

And my finalized capstone portfolio can be seen at 

Final Project Documentation:


Project: pauseWatch app

Website Link:

Project by:

Tyler Rhorick and Rewant Prakash

Project description: pauseWatch is an assistive technology device for people with mental disorder. The interface for pauseWatch relies on using different sensors and arduino mkr1000 to calculate body vitals, and if the body vitals are not in range, it triggers an api that redirects users to a web app that helps them calm down.


This app, for the time being, allows the user to be redirected to two different youtube playlists– 1. The Meditation playlist, 2. Humor playlists. When the playlists are triggered, the app shuffles the songs in the playlist, giving its users access to different order of playlist every time. Furthermore, the app also triggers a email to someone the user designates while setting up this app, giving users a lot of accessibility and variety of options based on their personal preference.



Pushingbox API, pushbullet API, arduino mkr1000, php server and youtube embedding


Ideation & prototyping:

We first came up with idea to develop pauseWatch app while discussing the possible future impact of pauseWatch. pauseWatch interface relies on using several different APIs such as pushingbox API, pushbullet API, and IFTTT API. While the APIs were successful in performing the intended functions, we wanted to give users option to choose their preference and interaction when they first set up the app, instead of the different APIs functioning independently. We believe that any or every user has the ability to make their own decisions, therefore we wanted to give the users an option to set their preference single or multiple times.


In our current design, the user downloads the app and sets up their user preferences. These preferences allow the user to input their name, the emails they wish to be notified if their pauseWatch is activated, and the frequency that they would be asked how they would like to de-stress (once or every time the watch is activated).

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Once the pauseWatch app is setup the user is ready to use their pauseWatch. After the pauseWatch app is set up, their pauseWatch watch will monitor the user’s vitals when they wear it. Looking for an increase in temperature and heart-rate, the pauseWatch will activate when these vitals indicate that the user might be stressed out. Encouraging the user to take a pause and relax, the pauseWatch will interact with the pushbullet API to send a phone notification to the user. This phone notification will link the user to the pauseWatch app, which will respond to the user’s chosen settings and send the required emails upon opening. If the user has chosen to pick how they would like to destress every time, they will get to pick how they want to destress with pushbuttons that will link to options to de-stress.


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Otherwise, if the user picked to just be asked once how they’d like to de-stress, it will go to the page related to how they want to destress. Once on the page related to how they should de-stress, they will see a randomly generated youtube video related to their prefered way of destressing.

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While building this app, we had a few challenges.

  1. Php to send email to a designated user
    1. One of our biggest problems was trying to figure out why our PHP code wasn’t working to send emails to the users. We ended up figuring out that the problem was because we were hosting our pages locally. After talking to Matt, we got the email functionality to work when the website is hosted on the IMA webpage, but a current issue is still with the string parsing. We want to look back in this more detail soon to see if we can remedy these issues.
  2. Responsive youtube embedding
  3. pauseWatch device integration with the app


Future Iterations:

  1. More variety of content in the app
  2. Using push notification triggers and redirections from the app itself
  3. Launching an app on google play store/ ios app store


Tyler’s Reflection

What I enjoy most about working on this project is how it was able to use everything we learned in class. From incorporating our lesson on forms, to mobile and responsive websites, php, and connecting a website to an arduino, I think we accomplished a lot with this project. In the end, I think our project is commendable because it works and is a valuable asset to Rewant’s capstone project. What I think may need to be improved in later iterations is the design. One thing that we didn’t talk about in class that I might have wanted to discuss more is how to make an appealing phone app. We chose to go for a simple look to not overcrowd the space on the phone, but I question if this is the best decision. Should we have added more? What design elements could we have changed. I think another thing that was an important lesson I learned from this project was the limitations of hosting a website locally. I feel like often times when things don’t work out I automatically assume it must be something in the code I wrote. What this taught me is that with web development it is also important to look at the way you are using the code to make sure that it is actually the code that is the problem and not the permissions. Overall, it was a great project as my last project in IMA and I had a great time working with Rewant, which is something I suprising hadn’t gotten to do yet in IMA.



Assistive Tech Make-a-Thon Project: Positioning Chair

Production Date 6 May 2017
Section Instructor Marianne Petit
Partner Amy Mao
Aim During our visit at Cerecares, we identified one of the children who was unable to hold her head up during group activities. After asking about this, our host identified that feeding and positioning remained to be a problem at Cerecares because there were children who were unable to keep their heads up or that would have their heads fall forward in the middle of eating.
Material used Cardboard, Stretch Fabric, Hot Glue, & an Airline Pillow


After our visit to Cerecare (see my reflection here) one of the things that I was most struck by was a child who was unable to keep her head up during group discussion. After asking our host about this, we were informed that this and feeding continued to be a problem because they had children in their care who could not keep their heads up or would fall forward in the middle of eating. Curious about what solutions might already exist, I started looking at positioning chairs online from Though I found a few options that might work, it was difficult to find pricing information, so I continued my search to  After looking on this website, I was able to find the following TherAdapt Adjustable Positiing Chair:

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With a winged back for the head and support in the trunk to keep a child up-straight, this seemed to be an optimal solution, though it did not come at an optimal price to assist the child at Cerecare, an organization that had already communicated financial troubles. The chair and the insert required cost about 1000 USD.

That night, I started to think about more innovative ways that one might be able to keep their head up, while also being comfortable. Almost giving up, I started to go to bed when I saw an airplane pillow I had bought in Thailand. I realized then that this item, in reserve, might be a suitable item to hold up a child’s head, so I decided to bring it to the Make-a-Thon.

At the Make-a-Thon I was paired with Amy and together we started brainstorming. After explaining my idea with Amy we agreed that this had potential, but Amy stressed that it should a design that could grow with the child or be used on multiple children. After looking back through the websites, we realized that the designs on the websites were made versatile by a slit and screw system where you had the freedom to move the chair up and down. This system can be seen pretty clearly in the picture below: 

tha-tc-150 transition chair by theradapt



Realizing that we wouldn’t be able to prototype anything like this in the time or with our desired resource (cardboard), we decided to modify this by just using different slots at different heights. Upon further discussion we also decided to give the ability to add seatbelt straps for trunk support, since we both realized that they had already been using ribbons in a way very similar to a seatbelt to support the child at the care facility. In the end, we came up with the following back design, which we repeated 3 times in cardboard and hot glued together to give the back more support:


The middle slots are for the pillow and the slots on the side are for the “seatbelt.” After making the cardboard 3 ply, we realized that to shove the pillow into the slots made the neck area too constrictive. Because of this, we decided to add fabric to the bottom of the pillow on both sides, so we could have more controllability and ease in positioning the pillow. The following is a picture of this modification:



After perfecting the back piece, we decided to work on the seat element so that it could be presented as a full seat. We were lucky to find an old laptop box that was already 3 plied on the 4 sides that was a perfect size, so we just needed to add support to the bottom of the seat, so that it could maintain human weight. Here is an image of the supported seat from the bottom. As you can see, we added 2 support structures. What is harder to see, however, is how we also hot glued 5 pieces of cardboard under the top layer to make the seat 5 plied.


In the end, we attached the seat to the back to make a sort of “booster seat.” You can see a user sitting in the seat below:

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NOTE: We envision this seating structure be added to legs in the future. It is not our intention to keep the child on the floor. 

Analysis of Project 


Looking back at our project, I think we had great success in using minimal products to make a great prototype. I especially appreciate our ability to use items, like the neck pillow, that are easily found and accessible. I think we also succeeded in making our prototype adaptable and growable, so it didn’t have a limited use.

Needed Improvement: Upon critique, I think we realized that we should emphasize that the straps are able to be tied both from the front and the back. In our presentation, we showed them being tied from the front, but there was concern that a child might untie themselves. Another concern that was common was the concern that the pillow would not be comfortable. After users tried the pillow they realized that it was actually quite comfortable, but we might want to design a way for the pillow to look less intimidating. As a final critique, it was thought that it might also be a good idea to add head support to the top of the head to prevent it from falling to one side or the other. We think this would be quite easy in a future iteration because it would just involve adding more slots.

Here is a link to our powerpoint for this project.

Here is all of my previous documentation from this class:

Week 1 : April 26th

Week 2: April 29th

Week 3: May 3rd

Week 4: May 6th





Assistive Tech Week 3 Response

Assistive Technology Week 3

How to make a Switch Adapted Toy 

What I loved about this video is that it showed in about 12 minutes you can make a real impact for a child with disabilities who may be unable to play with toys in their current condition. While there may be some elements of the process that may create a barrier for some people, such as owning a soldering iron, learning how to solder, etc. I think for families with disabilities it may still be beneficial to invest in this equipment because it would offset the current cost of toys designed for children with disabilities. I think this video is also a good example of people using the internet to learn how to respond the best they can to improving the lives of those they love.


Identity Meets Ability and Feeling Meets Testing

What I thought were the important takeaways from these chapters of Design Meets Disability was this idea that designing for assistive tech, as with all things designed with a focus on UX, isn’t a one and done kind of thing, but rather a process. It is a process of designing and redesigning based on the way that you see your user using the product. Another thing that I think was an important takeaway was this idea we have repeated through the course which is that by designing with disability in mind, you are opening yourself to increased possibility. For example, when designing for people with hearing impairments most people thought it would make sense to allow someone to regain hearing, but few thought about how the design could be changed to be better. To this effect, making a hearing aid that could both allow you to hear and also give you silence when you might want it was innovative and augmented the way we interact with hearing in a way that is better than the way nondisabled people are able to hear.

May 3rd Assistive Tech Assignment

New York Has a Great Subway, if You’re Not in a Wheelchair


What I thought was most important about this article was this idea that things may seem fine for us, until we find ourselves in a situation where the way we interact with the world changes. I think we can read this almost as a challenge to look for these kind of flaws before they happen to us. But at the same time I think this article was important because it discussed this concept of the curb-cut effect, which is basically the that innovations that give better access to those with disability end up assisting us all. This article encourages us to look more whole-heartedly at universal design.


Are Colleges Doing Enough to Make Online Videos Accessible for the Blind?

What I thought was most important about this piece was how it communicated how videos are being made in a way that exclude people who are blind when these videos tend to reference charts and diagrams that are only able to be seen. I think this is important, especially for me as someone who is currently entering College Administration, because it challenges us to rethink the way we are making videos. True to the Curb-Cut Effect, I think modifying these videos in a way that would also be helpful for the blind would also be helpful for the seeing because it could clearly verbalize what we are seeing and potentially add another depth of understanding.


Becky, Barbie’s friend who uses a wheelchair, was discontinued.


What I thought was important about this article is that it showed a symbolic example of what can happen to disabled people regularly- where their concerns or making something more accommodating for them is ignored because it proves to be more difficult. In this case, this difficulty resulted in the discontinuation of Becky, but in reality this often means that things are kept to exclude people with disabilities. What is also important to discuss in terms of this article, is representation of disability. While it was admirable to represent disability in their line, Mattel failed because it failed to actually address real issues that people with disabilities have.


In the God We Trust: A Brief Historical Review of Rehabilitation Practices


What was important in this article is the understanding that the world of rehabilitation and assistive tech really started as a ramification of war. Why this may not seem important, it gives us an idea for why the field has developed the way it has. What I also find important from this piece is the discussion of the sudden change to person to person design. What I can take away from this discussion is that universal design is always preferred to non-universal design, but that it may not be enough for everyone and that is also a need to customize things per person. I think this is increasingly important now that we have maker technologies that can bring down the cost of some of these items.

入柜 Project Documentation by Tyler Rhorick

Original Ideation

Originally unsure of what I wanted to do for my capstone, I decided to attend the Ideation Workshop offered last semester in search of ideas, even though I was initially skeptical. In this time, we were asked to go through each of the works that we were proudest of and try to break it down into concepts and small descriptions. At that time, I had identified the following projects as being those of which I was proudest of:

  • “Am I Not Human?”- A short documentary about what it means to be LGBTQ in Ghana.
  • Sewn Together- A project where I interviewed local seamstresses in Accra, Ghana, made a physical quilt out of pieces of fabric collected from said seamstresses, and posted the quilt online where users could find out where that piece of fabric was collected and a bit about the seamstress who gave it to me.
  • Sleep on It- A project I worked on in Accra, Ghana where I created pillows out of my fellow classmates’ fabric scraps for in return for a story communicating their biggest challenges while studying abroad.
  • Mystical Magical Peacock Peepshow- A project consisting of 2 “peacock chairs” that would use its feathers to attract two different users in two different spaces to have a shared experience together.
  • The Symphony of Street Food- A project communicating the experience of walking down famous street food street Zhaozhou Road through ambient noise, the sound of food cooking, and the favorite songs of local merchants.

After breaking these projects apart, I realized that the common theme connecting all of the projects I was proudest of, with the exception of the Mystical Magical Peacock Peepshow, was using tech to share real human stories, not necessarily challenging tech itself. As a former Global China Studies major, I look back now and think that this was probably painfully obvious to everyone else but me, but it changed my perspective from wanting to do something that had to be technically impressive, to wanting to create something that would just be a medium for telling the best story- whether that was technically simple or hard.

As for the topic of the story and how I would tell it, I initially struggled on this until I was reminiscing one day about my experiences in Accra as I was talking to a sophomore about studying away. In talking about my time abroad, I realized that what I enjoyed most about my time abroad was working with the Solace Brothers Foundation, an NGO working with LGBTQ people in Ghana, doing my short documentary about what it meant to be LGBTQ in Ghana, and my independent study project where I was talking to local seamstresses and made something physical yet highly inter-related, so I wanted to see if I could in some way replicate and combine those experiences in Shanghai.

Since I was deciding to focus on LGBTQ in Shanghai, I started doing initial research to try to fuel the ideation for my project to see what might be an ideal physical means to communicate these stories. In this research, I came across a study that reported that only 23% of gay men and 39% of lesbian women were ready to “leave the closet” and thus allow others to become privy to their sexual identity. This is when I thought it might be interesting to use my time exploring what it meant to be in and out of the closet and interview LGBTQ members in Shanghai about the factors that are keeping them “in the closet” or the factors that might have made them hesitant to leave the closet. Since this would be topic I would exploring, I thought that it might also be interesting to make the physical thing that I would construct be an actual closet, since this seemed like an appropriate way to force people not out of the closet, but rather in so that they could hear the stories of those in Shanghai’s LGBTQ community.

Original Project Proposals and Modifications

Here is the link to my original project proposal. By the time that I had made this proposal, the idea of constructing a closet and what that would mean was just a tentative proposal. I didn’t know what tech I would be using to make this possible or what the user interaction might be inside of the closet to communicate the stories of those I planned to interview.

Here  is the link to my second project proposal. At this time, I had finalized that I wanted to go with documentary film as the primary story telling technique, but had still not decided on the final interaction. At this time, I had the idea that I might make an interaction playing with opening and closing the door of the interactive installation as a commentary for who is inside and outside of the closet. After further consideration and after this project proposal was submitted, I decided that this idea might be limiting because it forces classification of the project’s content in a binary direction of closeted and not closeted, which may not be truly representative of the content that I would be getting, since many people might find themselves somewhere in the middle- or out to some, but not to all.

Scrapping the idea of the door being the primary means of interaction, I decided to turn my attention to the items inside of a closet to see if I could in some way transform those items into a means of interaction. Since I had taken Talking Fabrics and did my independent study working with fabric, I decided that working with clothing might be the best way to approach the project, especially since clothing is often tied so closely to identity.

At first, I had thought about crafting a hanger rod that would use wire hangers as a sort of switch with Arduino programming that could detect when the circuit had been broken, as shown in my paper prototyping below:



As I was brainstorming this design, however, there were 3 problems I could not reconcile (1) How big would the pole have to be in circumference to be able to accommodate all of the different circuits that would need to be contained within the pole? (2) How would the programming have to react to multiple hangers being off the hook at one time? What would play? (3) Would users put the hangers back into the grooves so that the programming would work for future participants? (4) What would I have to do if I decided to expand the project? When I presented this rough idea in class, another question came up which was what would people end up doing with the hanger while the clip was playing? Would they be expected to hold it? If they didn’t want to hold it, where should they put it?

Because I realized that all of these questions presented real problems for the way that my project could be interacted with, I decided to scrap that idea and go forth with another one. The next idea I had came to me when I was scanning into the AB one day with my NYU card still in my phone case. I wondered after this if I might be able to embed an RFID into clothing in a way that it would still be readable to a reader. I ultimately decided that it would be wise to put the RFID cards in shirt pockets. The following is a paper mockup of me playing with this idea:


After mocking up an idea of how this set up would work, I realized that there more pros to using the RFID system, since content could be more easily added for potential future iterations. During this stage, the only problems I identified were (1) will the RFID work and (2) how will the user know to move shirts to the reader. Since I decided that this second problem could be solved with the design of the space, it is at this point that I moved on to the technical development of my project and apply for budget from the Capstone Budget Review Committee. That written proposal can be found below:

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Technical Developments

When it came to the technical developments, there were two main tasks (1) configuring the RFID with an Arduino to use serial communication and (2) finding a software that could take that serial information from the Arduino and activate video.

RFID and Arduino (First Try)

Since I had never worked with RFID Readers prior, I decided to look on the internet for a tutorial that might be able to give me an example of how to use the RFID reader. What I came across was this ( tutorial from, which included the follo­­wing schematic:


After wiring the Arduino and using the sample code, I checked out some RFID cards from IMA that were meant to go with the reader. After trying multiple times, it seemed that my cards were not being sensed and I spent a good deal of time trying to look at the wiring of my Arduino and code to see if I had made an error in going through the tutorial.


After realizing that both my code and circuit seemed correct, I began to suspect that the error might be with the RFID cards I had. To test this, I borrowed my friend’s RFID keychain that she used to get into her apartment, which worked with the circuit and code I used.


After realizing this I went to IMA faculty Scott Fitzgerald, who was about to teach his class about RFID’s the following week, to discuss my project idea and he let me know that what I was considering seemed more than feasible and that he would order new readers.

Video Software

Waiting for the new readers, I began to explore MAX MSP as a means to use serial communication data from Arduino to control video. I originally planned to use Processing, but was afraid that using processing with such high quality videos would present problems down the line. As I was doing this, the card readers came and I saw Sun Jingyi working on her Network Everything weekly assignment, where she was using Processing and the RFID readers to control video. After seeing this and seeing that the videos seemed to retain their original quality, I asked Sun Jingyi to lend me the code she was working with and began experimenting with other film work I had done. After experimenting it seemed that the quality was not being corrupted and that the processing power of my computer could keep up to maintain the video quality as long as nothing else was playing. With that, I ditched the idea of using MAX MSP and switched back to Processing, since I am much more familiar with Processing and this could allow me more time to conduct interviews and work on design.

RFID and Arduino (Second Try)

After Scott’s class was done with the new RFID readers, I discussed with him how to use the new ones and what were the differences between it and the older model. He told me that the new ones were more powerful, which was ideal for my project, since my design would have a shirt between the RFID card and the reader. He told me I should switch to the Arduino Mega and even showed me an example code in the library I needed to download with the new reader that would serve the purpose of my project. After setting the circuit up, I tried the cards with a T-shirt in between the card and the reader, which worked great, so I began constructing a prototype of a hook on a Styrofoam structure, as shown below:


Interviews, Filming, and Editing

While all of these advancements were being made in the technical and design aspects of the project, I was actively trying to schedule and film interviews. Having done this kind of project in Ghana before, I knew that I would need to build trust in the LGBTQ community before there would be people from Shanghai ready to talk to me about their identity. Because of this, I started attending LGBTQ themed events around the city, joined several weChat groups made for LGBTQ people in Shanghai, and reached out to Shanghai PRIDE and professors Celina Hung, who taught a class on Gender and Sexuality at NYU Shanghai, and Lixian Cui, who had done research on the mental health and family dynamics among the LGBT population in China, to see if they had any connections to the community. While working on that, I decided to use the trust I already had in the NYU Shanghai community to make a survey that asked students who identified to one of these communities if they would be willing to participate.



Once I had respondents and contacts, I started scheduling 1 hour long interviews and began filming. To do the filming, I relied on skills learned in Documenting the African City at NYU Accra and decided to use a similar filming technique as I used in my short documentary Am I Not Human? where I only showed the torso of my interviewee. I did this (1) for anonymity and (2) to give the impression that this person could be anyone and everyone. When it came to editing, I chose to reinforce anonymity and distorted the voices of all of my interviewees. When it came to editing, I used Adobe Premiere.   

User Testing  

For user testing, I decided to recreate the schematic I had drawn when I came up with the idea for the RFID. The success of the user testing was that the Styrofoam model was designed in a way that effectively communicated to the user what they were supposed to do. There was a small problem where some users did not realize that only pink hangers could be used to access content, so it was recommended that I find another way to further emphasize that they were not part of the project, but simply window dressings for the space. Another problem that was revealed in user testing is that the project felt more like a store than a closet because of the spacing between clothes and the moving hanger rod that I was using for the demo.

Final Fabrication

For the final fabrication of the project, I decided to ditch the rolling hanger rod and opt for more closet feeling materials. Having measured the space prior, I looked up closet components on Ikea’s website and planned a trip there to put together a space that would feel more like a closet. As for the criticism that users were unsure as to what hangers were part of the exhibit and which were not, I decided to exclude other t-shirts from the exhibit and make a design with a t-shirt silhouette to further the point. In addition to this, I also made an exhibit description that further communicated that only pink hangers could be used and added lighting to the part of the exhibit where the content hangers would hang. Since the shirts I had bought did not have pockets on them, I had to sew on pockets and thus decided that it would be a nice element to use the embroidery machine with the project’s name on it. Nicole Chan helped me remember how to use the machine (Thank you Nicole!) Here is an example of how the embroidery turned out:


Here is the description I made for the project that is at the front of the project: Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 11.52.41 PM

Here is the modified hanger icon that indicates to users that they should put shirt hangers here:

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 11.53.01 PM

Here is a video of the final project working.

Here are the slides to my final presentation.

Here is a Google Folder with my final codes.

Special thanks to Roopa, Jingyi, Nicole, Scott, NYU Shanghai, and all of the storytellers featured in my project!


29th April Responses

Response to Cerecares Field Trip

What I loved about Cerecare most is how they were determined to see their patients not by their disabilities, but just as people who had skills and capabilities, who could and wanted to learn. A great example of this is when we were told that they were trying to train some of the older children in massage therapy. They were seeing them for their strengths, which many assistive techs rely upon, not just their weaknesses.

In terms of our course work, I think the visit was necessary because it reinforced the idea that low tech options work in practice and shouldn’t be ignored. I thought it was great how they were using a local carpenter to recreate items they found online that were designed to help with or resolve certain challenges. Seeing these solutions also reminded us that there are already some things created to assist with certain conditions. Knowing this makes it more imperative that we as creators are always looking forward to try to create solutions that are either cheaper and faster to create or quantifiably better. Communicating with the caretakers was also important because it allowed us to hear first-hand what they identify as being the most pressing issues that need remedies. Hearing this is vital because too often it is the case of able-bodied individuals to imagine problems that may not exist or may not be the most pressing.

With this said, I also shouldn’t underestimate how important it was to come in as an outsider with a fresh set of eyes. This was a lesson I learned during my Nutrition class in Accra and that I’m happy to see has been reintroduced in this course. In terms of nutrition, it is sometimes hard for those inside of a society to identify their problems because they may know no difference. Likewise, it may be hard for those who deal with these children every day to fully acknowledge what might make life better or easier just because they may not acknowledge there is another way. Because of this I think it is important as outsiders to ask questions of the caretakers and be actively observing to see if you may be able to see something as an outsider that might be harder for someone in the inside. An example of this came when I asked our tour guide about whether it was a problem for the children to keep their heads up. To this question, our tour guide admitted that the current solution was just to hold the children up, but that it would be great if there was a solution for this.

Overall, I think that this trip has created a great jumping off point for me to start exploring what I might want to ideate as solutions.

Using Assistive Features 

For this task, I decided to take the switch controllers to try and search for a video on Youtube. Though there was a bit of a learning curve (for instance, I first misunderstood what was meant by position), once you learn how to use it, it becomes pretty intuitive to use. Though it takes longer to complete tasks, it is still in innovative means to solve a problem.

Everyday Technology Chart

Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 8.34.59 AM Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 9.12.46 AM Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 9.12.52 AM

GIPHY GALAXY by Tyler Rhorick (Developing Web API Assignment)

For this week’s assignment I chose to do something less serious and thus created a website that would help people find their favorite things: GIFS. Here is the link.

Here is the home page:

Screen Shot 2017-04-26 at 6.11.36 PM

Here is the following page with the query of Dogs:

Screen Shot 2017-04-26 at 6.17.23 PM

(Yes, the GIFS do spin xD)

Originally, I planned to use the canvas function in P5.js to make the website, but I later decided in the middle of coding that I might want to move away from relying so heavily on the canvas function because of its current limitations in terms of assistive technology ( a lesson I thank Marianne for). Because I had already started with P5.js, I decided to continue coding in P5.js, but in a way that it made changes to the actual website and not a canvas. Because I am relatively new at using P5.js in this way, I found challenges in trying to make Images that were also links. I was able to create images with the createImg() function and A Hrefs with createA(), but I wasn’t able to combine the two in a way that I wanted to, which would have allowed the user to click on an image and be taken to the source link. Because this proved to be a challenge I couldn’t overcome in the time, I decided to instead change the CSS so that when an image was hovered it would stop rotating. As for the rest of the website, there were no real challenges, but I think it is important to discuss how the mechanics of the website works.

Using a computers local storage to communicate the search query to the 2nd page. 

To do this, I used localStorage.setItem() to define the contents of the text box into a global variable that could then be used in the 2nd page. I then also used this global variable to make an Element that contained the text of the user’s query, so the user wouldn’t forget what they had originally searched for.

Parsing the inputs of users to eliminate spaces and add (+), so that it would work in the format required for the API.

To do this I used the replace function to replace spaces with (+).

Loading the parsed query into a for loop that called for all returned GIFS

To do this I called a 4 loop with a length of 25 (the greatest amount of GIFS the API will allow you to look up at one time) and used the createImage() function to publish all the images to the page.


Week 1 Responses Assistive Tech by Tyler Rhorick

Stella Young’s ” I Am Not Your Inspiration” 

In this Ted Talk, Stella importantly talked about the concept of “inspiration porn” and how disabled people living day to day isn’t meant to be the source of someone’s inspiration. I found this discussion so important because it addresses a sort of microaggression that disabled people face regularly where people use their own biases to assume that getting up every day for a disabled person must be some sort of heroic task. I also found this discussion particularly useful because it talked about how it is our society that often forces disabled people into an “othering” position, not necessarily their own disability. I think that from this video we can learn (1) a better understanding of how to treat disabled people and (2) a need to change elements of our society that unfairly disadvantage disabled people.

Aimee Mullen’s “My 12 Pairs of Legs” 

In this Ted Talk, Aimee poignantly talked about how to view someone disabled differently is a learned behavior, not a behavior someone is born innately with. I found this important because I think it shows an increased need for disabled people to be the captains of their own narratives, not simply characters is abled people’s and a need for us to change our societal approach of dealing with disability. On this latter point, Aimee expanded her discussion to talk about how being “disabled”, as she is, is actually an opprotunity to create a source of identity in the space of absence. I thought that this was particularly interesting because it encourages us not only to think about the conventional means of assistive technology, which has largely been targeted at replacement and not creation.

NYTimes “Paralympics Least Favorite Word: Inspiration” 

In this NYTimes article, the author discusses a similar point that is being made by Stella Young in her TED talk, which is essentially that disabled people would prefer to be seen as simply people adapting to their circumstance in a way that any one might and not an inspiration. This article was interesting, however, because it went on to explore how calling these athletes an inspiration and thus othering them in a way different from able-bodied olympians  diminishes the actual work that went into being able to compete in the Paralympics.

Sara Hendren’s “All Technology is Assistive: 6 Design Rules on Disability

Sara Hendren discusses in this writing how there is really no technology that isn’t assistive in some way and thus encourages we change the way we look at assistive tech. If I am to relate what we discussed in class to this reading, I would say that what Sara is trying to advocate here is that creating assistive technology in the end benefits everyone, just in the way that Assistive settings on a MacBook or Iphone can be used by anyone to further customize the way they interact with their device. I also found her point called ” rethink the default bodily experience” particularly impactful because it challenges me in a way I didn’t think was possible before in terms of this class to not only think about devices that would allow someone to regain our societal and arbitrary conventions of “normal,” but rather might allow someone to experience the world in a different, potentially better way.

Video Embedding by Tyler Rhorick

For this week’s assignment, we were tasked with using a library to embed media. To do this I decided to use FlowPlayer because it seemed to have a nice aesthetic and was well documented. Though I am pleased with the final results, I am sad to say that I will probably not use FlowPlayer in the future because it seems like it relies upon a paid subscription. This is especially sad because I was going to use it on my portfolio website, as I tried to do this week. I hope you enjoy!