File Work

When we went on the trip to AISOS lab, I immediately started thinking about bringing food items to scan and model. So I brought steamed bun, dumplings for scanning. It was tricky with scanning dumpling’s texture, as it was a little bit transparent and it was difficult for the machine to scan that kind of texture. So we had to chalk paint it to prepare it for scanning. Once I scanned two food items, I felt obligated to model some other objects related to steamed bun and dumpling, so I picked fry pan and steamer to model (and I can…

Brainstorming and Ideation

I started thinking about the ideas when I went to the AISOS lab to scan the dumpling (refer to the post for assignment #3), and thought it would be fun to do more food items for the final project! So most of my ideas are around food items.

Food cube

I saw this picture of food cube long time ago, where all kinds of food are cut into cubes but you can still see different texture in a more regular form. So I thought it would be fun to make a similar food cube project, scanning some food with different texture, cut…

Brainstorming and Ideation

I started brainstorming by look up CNC router project ideas on Google image search, Pinterest, and instructables, and for some reasons this time all the ideas are pretty much culture influenced (Chinese and Japanese culture). And as always, there is one idea dedicated to cat theme.

Traditional Chinese restaurant sign board (or maybe beer sign board)

There is a Chinese typography that I really like, which is specifically designed for restaurant sign board. And I always think the characters themselves look really beautiful, so I kind of want to just cut a huge sign board with the name of restaurant I really like back in China. …

Brainstorming and Ideation

When I was brainstorming for the project ideas on how to make 3D things from 2D cuttings, I was mainly browsing laser cutting projects on websites (like instructables and ponoko) and looking for inspirations (which was really helpful for me to understand different things laser cutter is capable of). The project ideas I came up with are mainly in three categories: explaining technology (dissect a mobile phone), making things to move (stop animation box and wave automata), books and storytelling (object in the book and 360° storybook).

Dissect a mobile phone

I was intrigued by the idea of showing the what’s inside a smartphone…

As a child, I spent a lot of time with my parents’ retired colleagues in our community who often helped take care of children like me when our working parents were occupied. Needless to say, not all children have such caring older adults when they grow up and many older adults don’t have younger generations in their community as they age. Today’s communities have programs that specifically aim to connect the two generations. These programs often seek older adults’ experience and expertise to support children’s growth. …

Design Visualization for Twitter Trends Data

What is the best way to visualize popular twitter trends in different U.S. cities?

With the raw data of popular Twitter topics across 60 cities across United State on February 22, 2015, designing an intuitive way to arrange and visualize the data so that users can explore and compare the data with respect to topics, locations, and time.

Explore the Data Set

  1. The locations of cities are not evenly distributed, which makes it hard to visualize the cities on a base map without confusing users.
  2. The distribution of the trend topics is sparse. After the top two popular trends, popular topics varied a lot across cities. The common popular topics are rare to see.
I quickly sketched up a concept for map based visualization.

Improving Patient Care in the ICU

How can we design the digital version of plan of the day to make coordinated decision making more effective in the ICU?

Plan of the day is a paper-based tool physicians created during the morning rounding everyday to track the patients’ care plans in the ICU. The paper based plan of the day tool becomes obsolete within hours of its creation. The distance in knowledge between providers using this tool becomes a liability in patient care.

Coordinated decision making is essential for life-saving patient care in the ICU. Any given patient in the ICU has a team of residents, fellows, physicians, nurses, and pharmacists in charge of their care. The primary means of charting the plan for the patient’s recovery is a…

How to use p5.js to read from Arduino, and write to Arduino demonstrated with building an awareness communication system


This tutorial will help you understand how to setup HTML/JavaScript pages (p5.js sketches) to communicate with microcontroller (Arduino). We will focus specifically on how to setup Arduino for sending information to browser-based app, how to setup p5.js so browser-based application can read serial input (sent by Arduino), and how to setup p5.js and Arduino, so the web app can control Arduino with serial output.

What this tutorial will (and will not) cover?

We will not cover basics about Arduino, circuits, or how to use code in p5.js from scratch. We will briefly talk about p5.js in the tutorial but focus more on serial communication aspect of using p5.js…

Designed an alarm clock using light control to wake people. Prototyped with Arduino.


My design goal for this project is to make an alarm clock that will use effective methods to wake people up. My initial design was a running alarm clock that could also control room light. After learning more about Arduino and asked several people’s feedback on this idea, I decided to only make an alarm clock that will control the room light without running, because I got several feedback saying that controlling room light might be more effective than just a running alarm clock. More specifically…

Designed and built the 3d model for a cat bookmark with 123Design.


For this assignment, I decided to model a bookmark. I first did some Google search on different types of bookmarks and studied the structure of them. I decided to go with the clip structure for bookmark, and sketched several animal shapes for the bookmarks (because animals are cure). I didn’t have the dimensions for all the parts figured out, but just have the total length defined ahead to be 10cm. My idea was the bookmark itself will be more flat, and the face and the body of…

Irene Ye Yuan

HCI Researcher & Technologist, PhD Candidate @ GroupLens, University of Minnesota

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