Billy Ho

Billy Ho(he/him) is a Creative Technologist and Designer who works at the intersection of Art, Research, and Commercial Technology. His works aim to evoke Introspection and Empathy for both humans and machines.

Billy holds a BFA in Industrial Design from Shih Chien University and an MFA Design and technology from Parsons School of Design. Click here︎︎︎ to view Résumé.

Open Glass

2019 Fall
A collaboration with Yusha Wen

Working in pairs, design an intervention for a space that enables strangers to interact without using any spoken or written language.

Research and location scouting

We first picked out two locations in google map during the time in class, Strawberry Fields(Central park) and Damrosch park(Lincoln center). Upon first visiting in Damrosch park we instantly fell in love with the vibe in the plaza. After setting our destination, we went on to further the research both on-site and history.


Opened in 1969, Damrosch park has served as an outdoor performance space and is named after the Damrosch family, many of whom were musicians. Throughout its existence, it has hosted numerous free concerts in the summer as part of Lincoln Center Out of Doors. Besides music events, hundreds of juried vendors display their wares during the annual American Crafts Festival in the Park, it is also known to be the place that hosts NYC’s Big Apple Circus in winter.


In relation to the Lincoln Center itself. The complex does have a reputation for being rather forbidding and almost fortress-like on the outside, which led to the “transformation” effort that is opening up Lincoln Center structurally so that it is better integrated with its Upper West Side neighborhood.

On-site observation: 01

We stayed at the place for 3 hours and did a time log along with little descriptions about their appearances and behaviors.

First reflections and hypothesis

Focusing on the neighborhood community elements mentioned in the design intentions, we came up with a list of general and progressively detailed questions to try to find indications supporting our initial hypothesis.

Indications of local-institute identity hiatus?

Combined the first stage research and observations, we came up with a plan to further investigate the relations regarding the outdoor park goers and general Lincoln Center audiences.

On-site observation: 02

We went and interviewed 3 visually different types of park goers and ending up wih data that overturned our initial hypothesis.

Main takeaway

Ranging from babysitters to local residences they all enjoy the events provided by Lincoln Center while also being a usual attendee. At this point, it has seemed that generally, people who stayed at the park are from the upper west neighbor and musically involved.


Armed with the data collected, we set to outline our definition of interactions.
By juxtapositioning the relations between the performers and audiences, we set to transform the plaza into a platform for strangers to communicate through their own performances. By linking the artifacts in post, we were hoping to present the crystallized manifestation of their encounter.


Our first iteration of prototypes aimed to engage people with natural sounds( Sands, Water..) with an intended interaction as follow:
:/ People notice the music we provided to prompt them to get closer our installation.

:/ Start to observe the mechanisms and star to interact with them physically.

:/ Realize it is a sound device and play a set of sounds echoing the background music we         provided.

Reality check

First thing we noticed right away was the affordances weren’t clear enough, along with the poor sound volume our installation provided wasn’t good enough to attract people’s attention. Most importantly, upon 5 minutes after we setting up, we were approached by the security guard questioning out devices, given the fact that they were all visually just a couple of black boxes we had no other option but to head back.


Having our small yet crucial feedbacks in mind, we redirected our goals as the following:
:/ Simple – Easier to identify the intended usage, what is it for.

:/ Playful – To engage with strangers more efficiently.

:/ Transparent – To eliminate the concerns one might have upon seeing the device.



Around the 2 hours of observing, we ended up with 10 groups of interactions. Besides genuinely being contempt with our results, there were also some unexpected outcomes and indications to improve.
First of all, the interaction times were a bit shorter than we had in our minds. And the way they noticed and approached our projects shows in my opinion, a greater commitment towards investigating the device (shown in the right side of the diagram above).