aBsurd design

"Not exactly useful, but somehow not altogether useless..." - Chindogu

Inspired by the Japanese art of Chindogu that promotes connecting and combing ideas in many unusual, surprising, unexpected ways to come up with new innovations, the following whimsical collaborative product design projects remind me to keep an open mind to new, unconventional ideas, and embrace the opportunities to think outside the box while exploring playful ways of learning and seeking solutions to daily life problems.

But why? Because oftentimes, it is the things that seem irrelevant, or wrong and absurd that help us cross the borders between what we've already seen or done and what we have not yet thought about.

a Phone Add-on Chindogu

Fitness Phone Case

A collaboration with Chenhe Zhang

All a user needs to do is to carry their phone with them as they always do. The fitness band attached to the back of this unique custom-designed phone case will always be ready to serve as a portable workout device at at any time, anywhere.


The users of this product will be able to take advantage of various locations, infrastructure around them while wasting no time to squeeze in a quick workout session conveniently and on a budget as they live their busy urban life.


3D modeling with Blender and 3D printing

For more detailed development process, please visit Fitness Phone Case blog post

Door-stop Sandal

A collaboration with Shuju Lin

Just when the making of Door-stop Sandal completed, COVID-19 outbreak was also at its highest level yet across regions. Besides social distancing, good hand hygiene continued to be advised as the most effective way to prevent the disease transmission. Inspired by this recommended practice, Door-stop Sandal takes the approach of limiting user interaction with publicly used objects or surface areas, such as door knobs/handles and exit door push-bar. 


What we gained in the end of the project was realizing the true beauty of making "un-useless" products during a difficult time. It's about the acknowledgement that we don't always know what the best answer is. It also turns off that voice in our heads that tells us that we know exactly how the world works or how things are going to happen. And, maybe a Door-stop Sandal isn’t the answer, but at least we're bringing awareness and most importantly, we're asking the question.


315 MHz Radio Frequency Receiver and Remote Control


Chenhe Zhang, Vince Shao

For more detailed development process, please visit Door-stop Sandal blog post

Strict Eye Blinds

These smart, uncompromising roller blinds are designed to protect the "window to your soul." They control when and how much time your eyes need a break from screen-time.  Following a rigid pre-set schedule, and in an uncompromising manner, these blinds will automatically roll down slowly to remind you to take short breaks in between screen-time sessions. Once the the break is over, the blinds will roll back up on its own until the next scheduled break.


Recycled cardboard, scrap materials, 10 rpm DC motor, Arduino

For more detailed development process, please visit Wearable chindogu blog post

a wearable Chindogu