My Memory Box

Every year the research department at Microsoft holds a conference, Design Expo, in which they present technology innovations and research developments.

As part of this conference, students present new conceptual product ideas they have developed. The students, all studying for a master's degree in industrial design, are chosen from different schools around the world. The purpose of these conceptual prototypes is not to show a finished ready to use product, but instead to confront problems dealing with everyday lives and define creative solutions, offering a different perspective to technology and its uses.

In 2004, the expo topic was Communication through Technology: People to people, from close friends to strangers. I worked with Iris Shoor to develop My Memory Box, a product that offers a way for people to communicate with the speed, accessibility and ease of e-mail, without sacrificing the excitement of opening a real-world mailbox in hopes of finding a letter from a close friend. The wooden Memory Box contains a set of removable postcard-sized electronic screens, each displaying an individual e-mail message.

At the Microsoft Design Expo, this project won the title Most Outstanding Innovative Idea.

I wrote a summary paper describing my process and intentions for this product.

  • My Memory Box is a real wooden box that combines a mail box with your inbox. The box is connected to the internet and maintains the experience of regular mail. Inside the box are e-postcards; each postcard is addressed to a person or defines a category, and contains all letters under that subject.
  • Computer and hand model sketching.


Playful, Useful Tableware

It is well known, that people have a need, in several different situations, to play, touch, feel, explore the objects that surround them. This set of tableware offers a solution to this need, as it examines a new and fun way of serving and drinking coffee; Most of all, because of the interactive relationship that these objects have with their user.

In order for these items to "respond", one has to act on them. To each familiar object I've added a new function, which is at once fun to play with and has an important role when drinking.

To me, product design creates an opportunity for communication between clients and designers to users through formative expression. The design of the playful environment I tried to achieve not only reflects this philosophy but determines the behavior of people in it.

When thinking about the looks of these products I wanted to generate a childlike and playful feeling, but also something that is fancy, stylish and fashionable.

  • Exploring the design of the Teapot's shape and functionality with clay and paper models.
  • This teapot's shape is inspired by a racing car. It's circular side walls determine the "course": it is to be rolled on the table surface, until it reaches the cup and fills it up. Each time the pot is turned, its inner walls enable to pour exactly one cup of 220cc. Thus, the teapot makes a semi-circular path until it reaches the cup and rests upon it. That is when the water is poured into the cup.
  • Exploring the shape and functionality of playful coffee cups with clay and paper models.
  • The bottom of this cup contains wheels and a spring, similar to those found in small toy cars. The spring is attached to the wheels and continues on, through the handle, inside the cup, where it has a propeller attached to it. By grabbing the handle, the user "drives" the cup back and forth on the table surface and thus causing the propeller inside the cup to twist and swirl the drink.
  • In this cup, the handle is comprised of four large rings attached to each other. The rings are intended to contain the basic foods and objects needed for drinking the coffee: packed cream, sugar and coffee, as well as a stirring element. When the preparation of the coffee is over, the free rings become the handle of the cup, each filled by one finger.
  • Exploring the shape and functionality of the sugarfree dispenser with clay.
  • The mechanism of this object works on the principal of a typical doll's eye (namely, a weight that is forced down by gravitation). When the dispenser stands on the table, it is always closed; but when it is tilted to a dispensing position, the "eye" will open and allow one sugar-free tablet to come out.


Concept Bag

For a Workaholic Professor

The professor for whom this bag is intended, is an academic lecturer; he is a low tech person, who doesn't get along well with a laptop, and doesn't want to try and learn; he is a very meticulous person; and he is also a collector. He collects everything: his study room is full of pencils, pens, rulers… Even when he goes out on a trip, he needs to be equipped with all the utensils. This professor doesn't like to feel as if he is wasting his time. He takes advantage of the journey to read some articles, and on walks in nature with his family he takes exams to check on the way. Not a moment in his life goes to waste. He is a typical workaholic, addicted totally to his work.

The Product: As described in my product statement, the bag is shaped like a book (the book itself is taken from the professor's inner world); each "page" has a function. The front of the bag has tubes dangling from it, each tube containing one single pencil, which answers the professor's need to be so very organized. One of the pages is shaped like a net, and is intended for personal belongings. The reason it is shaped this way is to save precious time the professor can not afford to loose: this "page" is actually reachable from both sides. Since the professor needs to be able to write in every situation, the back of the bag is padded, enabling it to turn into a writing table, for writing in inconvenient spaces.

  • Front of bag. Each tube contains a writing utensil.
  • Back of bag is padded to insure comfort of outdoor writing.
  • Meet the user: My dad, a workaholic professor!



Promoting Estee Lauder's skin care products

At Ascentium we had a biweekly activity called Pitch Perfect. For each session a different company was chosen, and a design brief was written. You had to find yourself a team of up to 4 other people, and work together to solve the challenge of the design brief. At the end of that week the group gave a 10 minute presentation that was followed by feedback from the judges.

These pitches were challenging and very rewarding: our presentations included preparing a value proposition, writing up a solution overview with design examples, showing a competitive analysis and calculating financial projections (if relevant).

This is an example of a Pitch in which I was involved. We approached Estee Lauder to promote their skin lotions. The challenge: Estee Lauder's products are considered "old", products that our grandmas use, not young ladies. Our solution: Inspired by a visit to Estee Lauder shops at the mall, we decided to create the real essence of Estee Lauder online: a true and personal shopping experience on the web. Our target audience - women ages 25-35, have a very hectic urban lifestyle usually, are deeply knowledgeable about anything web, and do most of their shopping online. They love hanging out at the mall with their girlfriends, but only when they have time. Our goal was to give them a complete mall experience - online.

  • A big part of the pitch work included thinking and creating with people from as many different disciplines as we could get together. We did lots of different brainstorming exercises, diagrams, whiteboarding, flows, and other creation exercises.
  • We defined personas and created storyboards to define the characteristics, needs, motivations and environment of our users. This is a storyboard describing how the shopping experience we are proposing to Estee Lauder will make a significant improvement to the lifestyle Jenny is already leading.
  • We based our product service on giveaway samples, proposing the sample wrapper will have a barcode that prompts the conversation into Estee Lauder's micro-site.
  • I created wireframes to map out the proposed features for our product. Namely, examining the future of online shopping and how to make it more personal, social and physical. These features were culled from many brainstorms we taped up all over the walls.


Arts & Crafts

I love working with my hands. Working with clay is in many ways more rewarding than most other art forms. Throwing a pot you can feel the clay on your hands, and sometimes you don't even have to look to know what the clay is doing.

Glass blowing started to interest me after getting into pottery. I saw so many similarities between the two art forms. They both share similar shapes and uses. When I finished my academic studies I went to Nový Bor, Czech Republic for an internship as a glass blower at a glass factory. Working in a glass studio is like working in a pottery studio on fast forward. Working in glass takes constant focus and diligent movements. Small mistakes are not so forgiving and even when all seems to be going well at the last second it can all fall apart.

Today, I wish I had more time for pottery, glass blowing and other hands on art activities.


Architecture and Judaism: Synagogue as an Egalitarian Space

A Synagogue design entered for an architecture competition

This design was displayed in an exhibition curated by architect Moriya Rozenfeld, presenting 12 works by architects who participated in a conceptual competition for the planning of a new breed of synagogue: Synagogues that allocate a "place of respect and equality" for women, giving them space equal to that of men - while at the same time addressing the requirements of Orthodox Jewish law (halakha).

I entered this competition as a challenge to plan a synagogue that will enable women to hear, see and experience the prayer process and Torah reading from up close and with full audio-visual possibilities. In addition, I saw this project as a challenge to examine the dialogue between the world of Judaism and the world of creativity and art. Following the competition, I wrote an artist's statement describing my process and intentions.

My design won 3rd prize at the architecture competition held by "Kolech" in 2005.

  • In our daily lives, we pass upon several spaces that implement an essence of equality.
  • This project deals with assembling junctions, symbolically and practically, between the city and the synagogue. This is done by using midway spaces as basic structures in the synagogue.
  • Streets, parks, squares, open urban spaces and more - all fulfill situations of egalitarianism.
  • The passageway between the street and the synagogue receives an architectural expression.
  • The entrance hall, the yard and the staircase are stretched to be a stand-alone main structure which contains all the activities besides praying, and surrounds the sanctuary.
  • The transition from the street into the synagogue is defined by intermediate architectural contrasts: built bricks and open space, light and dark, buildings and nature.
  • In the same manner as the synagogue is influenced by the street that leads to it, the street is influenced by the synagogue. A midway structure, that does not have a religious function, defines where the road ends and the synagogue space continues.
  • The analogy to public spaces defines the sanctuary, which simulates a central plaza that all streets cross through.


Israeli Bag

The entrance to every public place in Israel forces the entrant to open his or her personal bag and present it to a security guard. The security guard will then look into the bag, touch the things inside it, and based on the information that is gained from the check up, will decide if the person checked has or does not have permission to enter the public area. This procedure takes time, thus causing long lines at entrances; and creates an unpleasant and embarrassing feeling when the guard, a stranger, puts his hands into and goes through personal belongings.

As I wrote in my design brief, in designing this set of hand bags I am trying to offer a solution to this problem. Every bag has two openings: one for the bag owner, for him to put things in the bag or take things out; and another opening for the security guard. This second opening is designed in a way that allows a simple and fast action. This opening shows the whole contents of the bag at once, so there is no need for a hands-on check.

  • Security gaurd checking a woman's bag at the entrance to a bank in Jerusalem.
  • Sketches - Open and closed positions of the bag
  • Sketches - Open and closed positions of the bag
  • Sketches - Open and closed positions of the bag
  • Sketches - Open and closed positions of the bag
  • Sketches - Open and closed positions of the bag
  • Sketches - Open and closed positions of the bag
  • Using the shutter as a facade symbolizes the act of peeking inside a private territory. A window in a house is actually an opening, separating between inside and out, and looking through it, one can see the happenings in the house or from the house. Like our house, the hand bag which we carry around is personal, and if a stranger is interested in looking through it, it is only proper that he looks through some kind of partition, instead of shoving his hand, touching personal belongings.


Booklifier (Book + Amplifier)

Exploring new ways of creating atmosphere and extreme emotions while reading

As I explain in my project write-up: The thought about the ways in which new technologies seem to be changing the experience of reading triggered my work on this project. Television, the Internet, and other such media, have caused many people to spend less time reading.

"Booklifier" offers a way to enhance a users feelings while reading. It causes extreme reactions towards the text. For example, picture yourself traveling in the woods (in the book), in a dark forest, and you are frightened. Your feeling of fear would normally be X. The booklifier increases it to be X+5. In this way, your reactions while reading reach an extreme and a new reading experience is created. You really feel like you are "inside" the book.

How does it work? The computer translates the biometric indications and transforms them into an audio visual display. The information is transformed from the reader's body by means of wireless methods to the computer. The receiver inside the product obtains the measurements and produces an audio visual display using amplifiers and Led lights. A battery inside the product radiates energy to the amplifiers and light.

  • * Picture taken at the house I grew up in, Jerusalem. My dad is a professor, and every single wall in our house has a bookshelf against it...
    "In books I have traveled, not only to other worlds, but into my own. I learned who I was and who I wanted to be, what I might aspire to, and what I might dare to dream about my world and myself. " ~Anna Quindlen
  • While researching about book-reading habits, I discovered a study from the University of Chicago that reveals that one in two Americans do not read books at all, and those who do devote less than half an hour a day to reading.
    In response to this concern, there are various products that attempt to encourage reading.
  • The fast pace of today's modern lifestyle does not leave room for the slowness of reading. Most people today would rather fill up a free hour in front of the TV or the computer. This project examines the possibility of a new dimension, and a slightly different meaning to the experience of reading as we know it.
  • This product is actually comprised of two objects, whose joint function constitutes a complete product that operates on a subject during reading. One object reads physiological measurements generated in the body, thus recognizing a particular feeling. The second object perceives the measure identified and relays a relevant audio visual response.

    Lets start with the hand device: It's function is to perceive the physiological measurements the body transmits, and determine what the atmosphere will be. This is actually a 'mediator product' – between the subject and the atmosphere that will be formed. The device is designed as a kind of jewelry, which is flexible and pleasant when worn on the hand. The device touches the hand in the 4 points in which physiological measures are calculated to evaluate a feeling.
  • The earphone, like the pillow (next slide), produces sounds and colors (light). This object translates the feeling measure into an audio-visual scene, and – produces the atmosphere.
  • The pillow, like the earphone, produces sounds and colors (light). This object translates the feeling measure into an audio-visual scene, and – produces the atmosphere.
  • Sketching out the pillow...
  • The two later products – the pillow and the earphone present the 'third product' in the chain, which looks like this: (1) the subject's body transfers a dispatch of feelings. (2) The hand device perceives the measure of feeling and determines what kind of atmosphere should be produced. (3) The pillow, or earphone – produces the atmosphere.
    This process repeats itself over and over again.