Experiments

I really wanted to flip off Donald Trump...

...so I made a middle finger tracking game for Oculus Quest. We developed this quarantine project to urge voter registration among VR youths, but I forgot the cardinal rule of internet meme-ery.
Trolling begets trolling.
Anyway, it was a fun excuse to flip Trump off and watch him explode.

Environments: justCHOP Animation
Middle finger prefab: Nova3dVR

Download on Sidequest


TamagotMe: turning myself into a Tamagotchi

The idea came to me after trying to read old diary entries from post college life. It was excrutiating. I thought, 'there must be a better way....'

TamagotMe became an experiment in playable critical thought. It uses natural language processing (NLP) to analyze old diary entries, surface a psychometric profile, and fuel a homemade Tamagotchi with remnants of my past. This experiment tests whether virtual pets feel more ‘intelligent’ if they act as we would, and if that affects how tightly we hold onto them.

After fussing with pandas and Jupyter notebooks for way too long, I discovered IBM Watson's Psychometric tool and found my TamagotMe has high neuroticism and low openness. I used this code to create a Tamagotchi clone that ended up pooping alot.


Reality Augmented: How Pokemon Go Bridges Surveillance Geography in Urban Spaces: Singapore and Bangkok

Past research proposal, in collaboration with Michelle Lai

In 2016, Google spin-off, Niantic, released Pokemon Go to worldwide acclaim. The free, Augmented Reality game uses GPS to locate, capture, battle, and train virtual Pokemon as if they are in the players’ real world location. In exchange, the company captures an enormous amount of player data that they then use to incentivize real world behaviors.

Pokemon Go has instigated a rare, large scale shift in human mobility patterns that re-emphasizes certain biases in geography, drawing players towards business districts, urban places with relatively few minorities, as well as advantaging players who come from these areas. This reinforces a narrative of control, where spaces reinforce powers held by certain stakeholders. This geography profile also tends to be heavily surveilled through CCTV, and in Singapore, facial recognition and private security officer patrols – a move that targets minorities and migrant workers above anyone else.

These new forms of control have not supplanted the old forms of surveillance, but have made them more refined, more flexible, cheaper, and as a result, more comprehensive. Niantic’s ability to use PokeStops to incentivize transitory migrations within cities shows an increasing economic privatization of once public spaces, with corporations like McDonalds paying up to $900,000 per day for sponsored PokeStops. Just as Google mines our data to sell ads for products we’re socially engineered to want, Pokemon Go mines player movements to silently herd them into businesses where they’re expected to buy something in exchange for the right to be there. This is the physical manifestation of surveillance capitalism.

Our research will use Bangkok and Singapore as case studies for Pokemon Go’s effect on player attitudes towards surveillance capitalism, and player migration into central, more traditionally watched spaces within each city. Due to their high urban density, high Pokemon Go user density, growing economic developments, widespread adoption of CCTV and facial recognition software, smart city plans, interface networks, and infrastructure, these cities are prime targets for wide scale socialization of surveillance capitalism. We will survey the evolution and representation of surveillance capitalism in the last 5 years, using the invisible digital overlay on each city to inspire a dialogue on privacy and surveillance.

We believe PokemonGo’s ability to augment reality gives it the unique power to remake places in a fashion that reinforces existing power structures. Wide scale location based gaming is still a relatively new phenomenon, and as such, requires careful scrutiny of the system of spaces. Our study aims to uncover potential long-term effects on citizens and urban design.