Workshop at Frog Design

After interning at Frog design over the summer, I got an opportunity to visit them and update Froggers with my thesis. I took this opportunity to create a workshop. From my 5 ideas, I decided to pursue the lamp post/traffic light idea (See 5 ideas) and wanted to get feedback validate my assumptions and reactions to ideas proposed.

Problem Statement


Assumption 1: Street and traffic lights are the best options to be used for temporary users for post-disaster settings.


Assumption 2: Creating and add-on to an existing infrastructure would be cheaper and faster, rather than building something new.



Assumption 3:  Panic due to lack of information ad communication are major issues after a disaster.


Opportunities areas

1. Communication: thesis-elushika-nov8-012To use street and traffic lights to provide electricity and low bandwidth wifi, that will allow people to communicate with remote family/friends until help arrives.

Thoughts from Frog: 

  • Create a block-wide mesh network, so that if one is destroyed, there are many back-ups.
  • Charging the phone is a bigger issue
  • OLED street signs could highlight evacuation routes
  • Solar panels to re-absorb light


thesis-elushika-nov8-0142. Information update: To use street and traffic lights to inform residents when help would arrive. “FEMA will arrive in 1 day”

Thoughts from Frog:

  • If I am connecting to the internet through street lamps, I could get alerts from the phone. This should be combined with communication
  • Use a speaker, instead of sign. There should be 1 per 2-3 blocks.
  • Projection messages in streetlights


thesis-elushika-nov8-0163. Water source: To use street and traffic lights to provide trusted drinkable water

Thoughts from Frog:

  • Requires heavy overhead from NYC politics
  • Consider storing and transporting water during a flood
  • Create a shower during crisis
  • What about a pump for clean water


thesis-elushika-nov8-0184. Warning: To use street and traffic lights to block off an intersection

Thoughts from Frog:

  • If you are in New York City, residents will not pay attention
  • Geo tracking on phones will tell people to stop when they are nearing a disaster area
  • Use lights as wayfinding devices
  • Find my location, by pressing a button on lamp post

Thesis workshop with the fab 5


I hosted a thesis workshop today to receive feedback for my 5 ideas. I recruited 6 people from SVA, who had some knowledge of my ideas to some who had no idea what I was up to. The workshop was for 75 mins, I time-boxed each session to make good use of the time I had reserved from all.

Idea worksheet

I created worksheets for each idea.
It included sketch of idea, description, what makes this idea interesting? what thought does it represent? And other variations of that particular idea.

In each time-boxed session, I asked everyone to think about what makes the idea interesting and build on that idea.

It was a very useful workshop, it validated some of my ideas and questioned most of my assumptions. This also helped me to go towards a narrower path, meaning there was a clear favorite and the another ‘this could be an interesting idea’.


Some of the key things that I learned from the workshop was “Story telling can go so far”, “How can you change a person’s behavior with data?”, “In urban planning, local government will always be involved” and “don’t forget about cost!”


I will report back with an in-depth report of feedback and comments of each of the ideas.  Stay tuned!

The fab 5

I started to brainstorm ideas for my thesis. I timebox a couple of hours on a weekend and sketched out 10 ideas. After an action packed bloody dual long discussion with my thesis advisor, 5 were picked and they are:


Documenting brainstorming [1]

Last week, on Tuesday we got into groups. Each of us had 30 minutes or so to talk about our thesis topic and as a group brainstorm ideas. I was kind of excited for this exercises because I felt a bit stagnant about my ideas.

Unfortunately, when it was my turn…it was difficult. Maybe my facilitation was not good and I do admit I have a tough topic. I mentioned that I could take 2 paths: A crisis management based upon city planning and the other focusing on the residents, especially the elderly. One the comments that I received was I was too specific. Personally, I thought narrowing the topic would help, since this is a broad topic.

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The ideas that came out during my brainstorm session were just improvements of my existing ideas. I was disappointed in the end as the results were not anything new.

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With that said, this motivated me to talk to more of my classmates who were excited about my topic. I had a long conversation with James. He helped me work through some tough barriers. I am in a better position today and I can say I have made progress.
I also spoke to my accountability buddies (Uijun and Paola), they gave me tasks to complete based on the brainstorm session.

Tasks to complete – October 04-11

  1. Research more on other cities and countries
  2. How they deal with floods: Holland and Colombia
  3. What NYC is doing for preparedness: Download app and visit website
  4. Get some ideas from the research: Mock up and sketches

Talk of image cluster

I had a sit down with Kohzy about my image cluster. I thought he would be the good fit since he is interested in city planning and infrastructure. It was a short chat, but helpful. He saw some themes, that wasn’t obvious to me.

According to my image cluster, I can go both ways. I can go big into systems thinking or small into a human level and objects.

The systems thinking can be a city or worldwide. Building a new world to live permanently on water. Re-examine the levees in New Orleans, how water travels through the city during rain and floods.

The human level ideas can be surviving after the floods; to find food and shelter on water. Rescue mission people trapped in water.

From my image cluster, I can go many ways. While I was planning for my thesis, I was hoping that I will not run out of ideas. It seems now, I have too many ideas.



Thesis topic ideas


New Orleans, LA:

My second home. A beautiful city is below sea level. Icebergs are melting, sea levels are rising. New Orleans won’t be able to survive another category 5 hurricane. The city a sponge and it won’t stand longer. According to Huffington Post, Louisiana won’t be able to survive.

At the current rates that the sea is rising and land is sinking, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists say by 2100 the Gulf of Mexico could rise as much as 4.3 feet across this landscape, which has an average elevation of about 3 feet. If that happens, everything outside the protective levees — most of Southeast Louisiana — would be underwater.

20 years from now, will there be any earth to live on? Are we going to live on water?

imagecluster-1 imagecluster-2

Future of tennis:

imagecluster-3Watching tennis: I recently went to see the US Open and got lucky enough to sit near the courts. I got to see the magic Djokovic and the hard work of Wawrinka. It’s hard to explain being so close to the players.I was able to feel their frustration and the joy of scoring a point. I am not always this lucky scoring court seats. Two years ago, I sat in the 300 level, Serena was basically an ant. I did not experience the magic, similar to
court seats. How can I experience the court seats even when I am at home?

Playing tennis: There are tons of technology out there that allows the player to see how fast they serve? Or to see where shot the ball. Player coaches can review them and advise the player on how to improve their game. With future wearables, VR, AR and trackers how can we improve this experience?

Other ideas (in progress)

Future of journalism: With drones and everything online, what is the future of news?


Ergonomics: Smart furniture that will automatically adjust to the form of your body and way of sitting.


Blocking hate: So many problems and hate happened, because of race and religion. What if there is a way to block that?

Perspective on news: What happens if you can read the news as a child’s perspective? Will it be happier?

On the go medical kit during crisis.



It Begins


August came and I heard about the floods in Baton Rouge. I found out that a few of my friends who moved to Baton rouge from Hurricane Katrina lost their house the second time. It is hard for me to explain what they went through the second time. Personally, I still can’t explain clearly my experience with Hurricane Katrina.

…over 20 inches of rain fell in less than 72 hours around Baton Rouge. Rainfall rates peaked at six inches per hour. A flood warning remains in effect for the rivers around Baton Rouge.Washington post

Was there any warning for this, not really. I mean they had warnings of heavy rain and flood warnings, but no one expected it to be this bad.

Sea levels are rising, New Orleans, a city below sea level will be one of the cities to go in the future. Will this happen 10 years from now? 20 years? Can New Orleans survive another category 5 hurricane? These were some of the questions, that I started to ask myself and started to fill out my blank canvas.

I started to fill out my blank canvas, with thesis topics:
Emergency Services, Future of New Orleans, Medicine during emergencies, sea level rising, boats….