During the year my advisor was on sabbatical, I got the chance to pursude my interest in digital fabrication and explore how context-aware computing might impact fabrication.

Why Nenrin: Data, Fabrication & Memory

Collecting objects which hold personal and emotional meanings has been part of our everyday life. These objects remind us of past events, reflect who we are and signify our relationships with others. New design opportunity to support such desires has emerged given the advancement of quantified-self technology, context-aware computing and personal fabrication.

In the near future, people will be able to embed personal data captured by ubiquitous sensors—data that represents meaningful life experiences—into personally fabricated objects. I call these “trace-embedded objects”. They provide a new way for us to reflect the past, as well as for gifting.

Trace-Embedded Objects: Imagined Service Design


To explore this future and to understand how to design trace-embedded objects, I created Nenrin. Nenrin is a table lamp that represents a mother’s pregnancy experience. The shape of Nenrin is generated from multiple sources of data, including mother’s body shape changing overtime, her heart rate, and her pregnancy diary.


Recently Nenrin won the Re:defining Art Award and was showcased at the Duderstadt Gallery at University of Michigan. The second iteration of Nenrin is underway.

Design Process