Mary Ann Badavi
Mary Ann is a UX designer, content expert and noodle lover based in Washington D.C.

MAB does DT

Prototyping to fight surveillance birds

Joseph and I partnered for our in-class prototyping and immediately identified that we wanted to create a product that would address the concept of all birds becoming surveillance devices. Joseph has a background in apparel, so he came up with the idea of wearable cloaks that would have surveillance-blocking technology. Instead of just creating the actual product using fabric, we decided to create a diorama of a city street instead.

Using play-doh, we started to shape people wearing these cloaks. But because of the form of play-doh, the cloaks had more structure than regular fabric did. Because of this, we decided to make our wearable technology a little more structured. And thus, Pods were born.


After we formed the Pods, we came up with the idea of accessorizing the Pods with various badges and belts, as well as different kinds of Pods—for kids, pets, couples, people in wheelchairs, etc. From there, we built the world around the Pods, creating the “surveillance birds” out of glue sticks and drawing the cityscape around the people.

Joseph created a detailed sketch of the Pods themselves, how they work, and their adaptations.


Meanwhile, I created a narrative for the product, based on the prompt. My question about our technology was whether it would essentially “beat” the problem—that is, whether the surveillance pigeons would be ineffective due to our technology. Ultimately, we decided that they would, and our narrative reflects that.

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Creating this prototype was a great example of a team bringing each of their strengths to the table. Joseph supplied the knowledge and vision around the product itself, while I came up with some of the ideas on variation as well as the narrative context around the product.