“Design Practice in Support of Capitalism: Industrial Design and Cold War Consumer Politics”
Designs produced in the United States and other countries are influenced by international factors, such as economics, trade, and politics. American capitalism operates on the basis of consumer spending, which can promote innovation and design initiative in industry.
I decided to study international design trends by returning to Cold War history. The United States emerged post-WWII as the design and manufacturing leader of consumer goods with their mid-century modern styles and methods of innovation. American foreign policy experts decided to show these excellent examples of American design at United States international exhibitions all over the world to promote capitalism over communism.
I pursued this topic as a Senior Honors Thesis that I defended in Fall 2021. See my blog for my academic journey on this topic.
The thesis as published by the University of Houston libraries:
The thesis was awarded Outstanding Senior Honors Thesis by the Honors College at the University of Houston. This article shared by the UH College of Architecture and Design provides a brief overview:
University of Houston Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) 2021
I participated as part of the SURF program this past summer to conduct design research on hand prosthetics. I worked with my research mentor Professor Jeff Feng to create functional fingers for a hand amputee patient living in Houston as part of an ongoing project. As an industrial design student, I am passionate about research and building proof-of-concept solutions.
I was involved in a research project exploring spatial navigation in virtual reality (VR). We explored the idea of creating an avatar-based interface to guide users as they teleport in VR and help them become less disoriented.
This research was sponsored by the National Science Foundation: Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program at Iowa State University – Virtual Reality Applications Center.
Partially Concordant Teleportation involves moving your body and choosing a spot in front of you to teleport.
Discordant Teleportation involves standing forward and placing a marker in the position and direction you want to face when you teleport.
Triangle Completion Task
We tested our participants’ spatial navigation abilities using a triangle completion task. They would teleport to two vertices of a triangle, and then point back to where they think they started.
We tested our participants using the triangle completion test in four different interfaces. The 2×2 experimental design included the variables with/without the avatar interfaces, and partially concordant or discordant interfaces.
For a detailed explanation, see my research presentation video on YouTube.