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[Week16] Final Presentation



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Key words: Positive psychology, Education, Product Design, Cognitive Development, Emotional Vocabulary, Soft Circuit

My project, called I Feel Many Things During the Day, started from positive psychology, the scientific study of understanding optimal living that helps people thrive and live to their full potential as individuals and communities.

Positive design is designed for human flourishing inspired by positive psychology. It can and must be used to facilitate individuals to tap their inner potential and communities to flourish. Positive design does not neglect the deepest of all human needs: the drive to flourish. A well-lived life occurs in a material context utilizing logic to achieve the highest pleasure and meaning that one can experience emotionally.[4] Design does not function in a vacuum[5]. As a product designer, I believe that design has to consider social, cultural, and economic circumstances, but above all, new design and technology have to take the mind factor into account. “The artificial is by no means confined to technology. Today, it means the combination of technical systems, the symbolic realm, including mind and the realm of our transformations and transmutations of nature.”[6] Humans are beings that not only adapt to new environments and circumstances, but they are also transformed by them. In other words, humans are easily influenced by their environment. Positive design is not just a medium to reorganize existing elements, but a method and an efficacious device to create reality. We mold ourselves from the spirits that emanate form the objects around us to become a little as they are, even if we are not always able to see quite how objects make us feel. By designing new technologies and environments, behavior can be shaped, thinking regulated, therefore, reaching the core component of the individual, his or her emotional world. Positive design acts as a thread that links all domains used in my project.

I Feel Many Things During the Day is a product that aims to educate kids ages between 3 and 7 to identify and express their feelings by listening to each story of feeling faces. Learning about emotions is in part an introspective activity, but most of it comes from social interaction.

In my project, kids who are ages between 3 and 7, learn about 12 emotional vocabularies, including sad, happy, fear, angry, surprise, disgusted, etc., that stimulate their cognitive development with therapists guiding kids to various emotional vocabulary experiences and to deeper conversations. In order for children to read social cues better with those around them, it is crucial for children to learn emotional vocabulary. It is first fundamental for children to read the affective cues of others and of themselves.[7] Differentiating among moods, for example, angry, sad, frustrating, and happy requires emotional vocabulary. When children have more abundant vocabulary, they experience more rewarding connections. So as to accurately grasp emotions in themselves and others, kids need to have vocabularies for those feelings, a feeling usage. In order not to miss all the different degrees of emotions in-between they have to practice a vocabulary of feeling words which sometimes kids do not have labels and definitions for those emotions. Children will tap and improve their verbal skills, learn what emotions are and how to behave when they feel certain emotions, further sharing their deeper feelings.

Processes of sharing their deepest feelings are therapeutic communication, an interactive activity through the face-to-face process that focuses on improving the physical and emotional well-being of individuals. Using this emotional vocabulary play mat enables therapists to induce kids to talk about their feelings easier.

Kids at the second stage of cognitive development,[8] significantly expand the use of language through internal representational systems to describe people, his feelings and his environment. Symbolic play likewise evolves at this stage, allowing the child to engage in pretend play using available objects to represent something else. The preoperational child is so engrossed in egocentric thought which limits the child’s view of the world to his own perspective, believing that this view is shared by everyone else. The child cannot comprehend that there are other ways of looking at situations and interpreting information. [9]

This is a product for kids. Hence, I had to think carefully about what materials I will use for my project, understanding of the kids’ tendency. I researched kid’s development stages.

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After the research I decided to use soft circuit. Using soft circuit and conductive materials allowed me to step closer to a toy design as a product. I found kids like emotional vocabulary play mat when documenting them. Because of felt’s vivid colors of face and rugs like texture above soft circuit built with conductive inks and wires, my project gives a sense of comfort, familiarity and safety.

Goal of I Feel Many Things During the Day. 

I Feel Many Things During the Day touches personal significance. This educational product is not just traditional product design focusing problem solving process, but focuses on one’s personal long or short-term goals: having better connections between parents and kids, expanding emotional vocabulary, improving reading social cues, and learning how to behave when kids feel certain feelings etc. Through this emotional vocabulary play mat, parents, therapists, and teachers can also derive kids’ personal significance from the awareness of kids’ past performance or a sense of progress to a future goal. In this sense, People make use of products to achieve their goals. An alternative to traditional welfare economics, the “capability approach” proposed by Nussbaum[10] and San is an interesting example of an economic approach that focuses on personal significance. They judge prosperity looking at what people are able to do with their resources, instead of material possessions. It focuses on fulfilling the individual’s goals, nurturing their personal fulfillments.


[1] Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D, Happier, Learn the Secrets to Daily Toy and Lasting Fulfillment (2007) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Positive_psychology,

[2] Maslow, hierarchy of Needs

[3] Pamela Pavliscak https://www.changesciences.com/a-positive-design-manifesto

[4] Dr. Michael W. Fordyce, The Psychological of Happiness: A Brief Version of the Fourteen Fundamentals (1993)

[5] Dieter Rams

[6] Clive Dilnot, “Design As Future-Making: Reasons To Be Cheerful,1,2,3…* (Or Why The Artificial May Yet Save Us)”

[7] Gail E. Joseph, Ph.D. & Phillip S. Strain, Ph.D. Center on Evidence Based Practices for Early Learning University of Colorado at Denver, Enhancing Emotional Vocabulary in Young Children

[8] Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development

[9] http://www.psychologynoteshq.com/piaget-stages/

[10] Nussbaum M. C. (2000). Woman and human development: The capabilities approach. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press


Future Iteration

  • Adding different stories
  • A disadvantage I found is that kids can not play often this play mat because kids would not get excited when they know all the stories behind the faces.
  • Foldable play mat


  • Connecting batteries, speakers inside the mat

Updated concept – Isabella & Sarah

The project is a sound installation consisting of five hand-made speakers. Each speaker will be set to play a stanza from a poem (Loteria by Adrian Coto), with each stanza focusing on an aspect of human experience and emotion. The audience will be encouraged to figure out how to close the circuit to hear each stanza.


La Pera
I watched a man choke on a pear,
and hoped for 6 or 7 minutes
that someone else would help him.

La Pera deals with my sense/flaw of inaction and indecision. While the scene it portrays is a hyperbolized, actual event, it highlights my fear of squandering potential or not helping others due to not being decisive and confident.

Visual descriptors:
inaction / indecision / inmobile



El Músico
The guitar was called Mojave.
It had 10 strings with 4 broken.
The perfect sound to reverberate against
an audience of sand.

El Musico focuses on the use of injury or setback to channel creativity. I sustained a hand injury, which left me unable to play guitar, but as a result found alternative and new ways to express myself. Such setback reminds me of the need to express myself for myself, without any regard for who might or might not be listening.

Visual descriptors:
beautifully broken / repurposed



La Muerte
Ya me cansé.
Espero que Dios me lleva bien pronto,
said my grandmother after a discussion
weighing the benefits of weed over painkillers.

La Muerte highlights a strange view of death that I developed as a teenager and early adulthood. This view consisted of an unsure, uncertain idea of death, but that what was certain was that death would be rest from the hardship of life. It also speaks to the almost universal aspect of people finding respite from life in various diversions, drugs, or escapes (in this case, my use of drugs vs. my grandmother’s use of drugs).

Visual descriptors:
escape / weary / hidden



El Nopal
Let whoever reads this understand
that when the desert took me,
it left me with only a lighter
and a friend.

El Nopal references a previously written poem, but speaks to dynamics of family and friendship. Namely, that it is inevitable that family and friends hurt one another, or suffer for one another.

Visual descriptors:
painfully precious



El Alacrán
I found one of the Milky Way’s spiral arms
embracing a small ranch in Tapalpa.
In the darkness I heard two scorpions dancing, singing,
We have not been before, and we will not be again.

El Alacran brings about a more refined and comforting, yet fatalistic view on death. It shows that life is and always will be finite, and that our connection to the cosmos, whether we are consciously living or not, will be infinite.

Visual descriptors:
infinite / connection