Idea Hamster

Sunah Hong

Thanks to the internet, we can easily find answers to many of our problems just with a click. We use search engines so frequently, dominantly Google - as it takes 92% of world search engine statistics - that 'to google something' became a popular phrase. We even ask personal things on the internet like what to buy for a friend’s birthday gift, where to go for a vacation and how to spend our time.
It is human's nature that we tend to choose a pathway that demands less cognitive effort. However, we have to be aware that we might be letting search results generated by a machine decide and control our path.

This project was done to portray the current situation of people asking personal matters on the internet, not much to real people, specifically how to spend their time, and to indicate people's over-reliance on the internet.

As a result, I designed a digital toy that gives users ideas of how to spend their time. The product is simply designed with simple controls - there are two buttons and a screen, and each time a user pushes either button, an output, an idea of what to do, is shown on the screen.
Output from the first button comes from the user's own device, either a smartphone or a computer, connected via Bluetooth. More specifically, the first button shows results based on the user's browsing history by going through the user's search histories on the device, arranging them into a list of strings and randomly generating a string every time the button is pressed.
In the meantime, the other button shows results of what to do generated by Google.

Although there are two buttons to give a distinction, one more personal and the other more general, they might be the same as Google 'knows' the user.
Would it be impossible to get unbiased results? Is it creating a loop of users using the product to get novel ideas and the results showing only relevant/suitable to the users?

The product takes a physical form rather than being an application, a platform or a service, to involve users' engagement through tangibility. Plus, the tangible form physicalizes the digital space and explicitly portray people’s clinginess to the digital world by users holding onto a physical object.


Thesis Faculty
Katherine Moriwaki
Jamie Keiles
Welcome to Guestbook, a procedurally-generated story of togetherness, built during the intensely digital Spring of 2020.