4 weeks, Fall 2016

Collaboration with Clare Carroll and Shannon Sullivan

Responsible for animation and video editing. Collaboration on concept development.


Kickstarter Concept

Machine Learning

Swivel is a smart chair that collects data using weight sensors to improve the workplace environment. Swivel can monitor occupant's sitting habits to enhance employee health, prevent security risks, utilize workplace, and support flexible working environment.


Many UX projects begin from studying people's needs. However, sometimes companies have a technology that they want to exploit. The prompt was to select a technology and find a good intersection between a target set of users and the abilities of the selected technology. Among the list, we chose a weight sensor.

So, how can we use a weight sensor to create value?

Ideation: Weight Sensor + Chair

Considering the capabilities and limitations of weight sensors, each of us generated ideas that can deliver value by implementing this technology.

One of our team member Shannon brought us an idea for an office chair that detects how long user has been sitting and prompt to stand. Since ergonomics is a big concern for many companies, we agreed that a smart chair can make an effective pitch addressing the health problems in the workplace.

However, I thought the argument on why it had to be a chair needed to be stronger. Why not utilize other technologies to detect how long user has been sitting? What can a smart chair do more than that?

Reframing: Asking the right question

Then, we went back and observed activities and behaviors related to office chairs in the workplace to ask the following questions:

We expanded our initial focus on weight sensors to a smart chair concept. From there, we went for a second round of matchmaking.

Expanding Possibilities

We conducted more research on the pain points of the office space that the smart chair concept can resolve. Among many, above are the opportunities that we decided to focus on.

By touching these different opportunities that the smart chair can solve, our concept became stronger and more desirable. We named our product Swivel and created a Kickstarter video to narrate Swivel's roadmap.

Solution: Swivel

final product video


When the user leaves the seat for a period of time, Swivel automatically locks the screen to avoid security risks. Swivel can also be incorporated in the log-in process for two-factor authentification since it can identify who is in the chair.

Office Space Utilization

Swivel can detect how many seats are occupied in the room and when it is occupied. Companies can use this data to monitor if the workspace is used efficiently and if there is an opportunity to adjust the facility to create a better environment.

Mobile Workplace

Through machine learning, Swivel is able to identify who is in the seat. When the user sits down, it automatically loads their personal desktop from the cloud.


Swivel monitors user's posture and alerts suggestions. It detects how long user has been sitting and gives reminders to stand up and move around at regular intervals.

What worked

At the end of the project, all students in the class were given imaginary $5000 to invest on other student projects. Swivel was top funded in the weight sensor category and 2nd highest overall, receiving over $40K investment. As a Kickstarter project, the main goal was to match contexts where weight sensors could be utilized and I think we successfully pitched its potential.

What could have been better

I really wish we had done more research for this project. If there was more time, we could have done contextual inquiries in an actual office space with employees and conduct interviews with members of a startup or experts in ergonomics.