CASE STUDY

Coffee Shop Scooter

Empowering locals to generate their own computer vision models for a more vibrant and diverse community.

Role

- Designer and Creative Technologist

Tools

- Snapchat Lens Studio, Photoshop, Premiere Pro and After Effects

BRIEF

We were prompted to research, imagine, and design new kinds of digital urban events through machine learning and augmented reality. Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) was our site of inspiration and intervention, so we explored how these technologies can play an important role in what is collectively tracked, triggered and celebrated.

IMPACT

In the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, a coffee shop and art gallery were the target of numerous protests in opposition to the gentrification effects that these types of businesses create in low-income communities. Contemporary social media emerged from the proliferation of cameraphones and members of local communities around the world are leveraging the technology's affordances to work towards awareness and respect.

What if members of the community possessed the tools and technology to participate in generating computer vision models?

METHOD

My 'aha' moment came to me after ordering a coffee at a coffee shop in the Arts District. I was inspired to investigate the gentrifying effects that coffee shops have in neighborhoods.

I conducted visual research on the coffee shops in the Arts District and nearby neighborhoods and drafted two proposals for the experience. From feedback with my advisors, I designed and developed a simple prototype in Snap Lens Studio and deployed in situ.

Catalog of coffee shop decor based on design research
Project prototype captured in situ
Selected project proposal

OVERVIEW

With an influx of middle-class people and tastes, the rapid change in affordability results in a breakdown of local cultures and livelihoods, often leading to uniformity––especially in light of social media’s cultural dominance. By empowering the community based on the local ecology, MR experiences could leverage the unique models to celebrate the diversity that exists in place.

The project was featured at ArtCenter's DTLA exhibition space
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