Tesseract is a system of space-specific devices that connects people to city life through an augmented reality visualization of social activities. It allows citizens to record and share meaningful experiences in the city on their mobile phones; while allowing others to visually access their experiences through nearby viewfinders. Tesseract aims to facilitate more participation in city life by leveraging existing asynchronous activities.

2015, 6 week long project with Rachel N and Nana C

My role was design research, synthesis, idea generation, conceptualization, shooting and editing the video sketch


Discover an opportunity where intelligent sensing systems can add value in the way in which people connect with one another in their surroundings throughout the day. The goal is to generate an end to end user experience design that is related to remote or collocated communications. 


We interviewed people in Pittsburgh from different ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds and ages ranging from 25 to 65 years.We also asked them to draw a map of Pittsburgh. These maps tended to include places and landmarks they encountered frequently on a day-to-day basis, and very little else.

We found that people find it hard to expand their experience of a city beyond their regular activities. People stay updated through social media and newspapers but the contents in these are chronologically organized. It's hard for people to encounter long-term activities serendipitously based on where they are.


How can we design a system that makes it easier for people to explore a city like Pittsburgh?

The coverage of city’s activities are fragmented across media– how do we make it more accessible and contextually relevant?


We knew we needed to design for individual people as well as groups.

In looking at common general and social needs across participants, we identified
4 groups.


We derived 3 design ideas that would help people explore the city. To decide the final design direction, we mapped the technological requirements for the ideas and considered the ways it could integrate comprehensive system or network.


Paper prototyping

We created mock ups of the basic screen flow to test usability and to validate the idea

Experience prototyping
We asked a couple of people to use our interactive mobile prototype and walk through the user journey. The idea was to get feedback on the concept, the use of technology and the user interface from potential users. The participants' feedback was incorporated into the final design.


Tesseract consists of a mobile app for creating 'tokens' and viewing personalized maps. The viewfinder located at prominent spots in public spaces allows people access to an additional layer of information - the tokens situation in public spaces.


We created an end to end flow on the mobile app for someone exploring the city alone and an indicative view of the tokens they would see at a particular location.


© 2020 by Shruti Aditya Chowdhury