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A multi-purpose projection system designed for tight-space collaborative learning. Project for Learning Media Design at Carnegie Mellon University.


Product Design + Research


Sep - Dec 2022


Learning Media Design, CMU

01. Overview

Classroom Projector Reimagined

City of Bridges High School (CoBHS) is a progressive high school located in Pittsburgh. For this project, our team focused on the future space and technology of CoBHS. We conducted three rounds of user research and narrowed down the scope to the lack of usage of wall space. By transforming the wall area to a multi-purpose space for showcasing work, presenting, and collaborating, we aim to transform the physical space of CoBHS in a way that will help foster a social and learning environment that encourages collaboration and sharing.

The townhouse

The "big room" or living room

The crowded wall space

02. Research

It's a Town House. What About It?

Students of CoBHS have classes in the living room, teachers host office hours in the kitchen, and the principal's office is a walk-in closet. The unique home-like environment of CoBHS proposes unique problems. We conducted a contextual inquiry and focus groups to discover how students and teachers interact with the space, and how the environment supports the value of the school

  • The boundaries between private vs. public spaces, and relaxation vs. study spaces were blurry. It feels like home, which means you'll have to share everything. Students and faculties share the space and it can be difficult to find a quiet spot of one's own. Moreover, there's no clear definition of where's the designated study spot. ​​

  • It's difficult to incorporate technology into learning and teaching. While students and teachers wish there could be more advanced tools on campus, there's simply not enough space to accommodate the equipment. One teacher mentioned that they only have one TV and one projector, making it difficult to create an immersive and engaging learning environment


  • Students yearn for more opportunities to showcase their work and spark discussions. The curriculum of CoBHS is student-centered and interest-driven, and every student has their own passion projects going on throughout the semester. Students would hang their paintings and posters on the walls, however, the walls were either occupied by previous projects or blocked by objects like whiteboards.  

02. Research

A Bit Too Crowded, A Bit Too Lonely

To understand how the physical space impacts students' experience of learning and living in CoBHS, we made cultural design probe kits and put them across the school. The probe kit includes:

  • Cards with different pictures on them, short descriptions of the picture, and a question: "Why does it resonate with you?"

  • Five boxes in total to collect the answers

  • Chocolates to motivate students to participate!

Kits in making

The finished look

Synthesizing the results

After synthesizing the answers based on the location where were collected, we identified three themes across the answers: 


  • While CoBHS has a home-like environment, the nature of it being a formal learning environment proposes rules, norms, and different power dynamics. "Being at home" can mean being safe and comfortable, but it can also mean overstepping boundaries.

“There’s a certain mix of feeling, both trapped and protected when home."

“...[High school is] the last place you’ll be told what to do."

  • The quiet space next to the library allows the students to introspect their current state of mind, while also distancing the students from their peers and leading to the feeling of being alone and left out.

“I feel unwanted and left behind for later or never."

“I feel distant [and] even drifting away.”

  • Although the big room is the place where interactions happen, the never-ending conversation can be intimidating and lead to too much social pressure for some students.

“I feel trapped."

03. Reframing

How might we...?

We identified our target users as the students and faculties of CoBHS, and developed three problem areas and their corresponding how might we questions: 

Sense of belonging

How might we facilitate a sense of belonging in the student body through space and technology?


How might we better define the physical and social boundaries by utilizing and categorizing the physical space?


How might we encourage open discussions and create an engaging learning environment?

04. Ideation

Changing the Walls into Playgrounds

After brainstorming, we conducted a storyboard speed-dating session with the teachers and students of CoBHS. After discussing our ideas with our target user, we have decided to pursue the idea of a multi-purpose projector that allows multiple users to project different screens at the same time and at any angle. Moreover, changing the wall to a playground for showcasing work, presenting, and commenting can help foster positive social interactions when learning, including collaboration, sharing, and in-depth conversations. 

Speed-dating sesh in the backyard

Storyboard winner

04. Ideation

Initial Prototyping

Our projection system will contain two parts: a "vessel" that contains multiple projector lenses that will allow users to project different screens on different surfaces at the same time, and a control center for the system. 

The vessel

Mobile control center workflow

04. Ideation

Iterating the mobile app

After wrapping up this semester, I took the initiative and made some late iterations to the mobile control center to make the concept clearer and add some additional features that would complement the projector vessel. 

Iterated information architecture

Iterated UI

Main iterations aside from UI change: 

  • I added a "community" section, where users can view the current projections and leave comments, which facilitates social interactions and communication

  • As the main component, the "projection" section will now allow users to project contents from multiple sources (draft, upload new from phone, or screen share) and preview their projections

  • Finally, I added a "me" section that allows users to view their past projections and reuse them with ease



05. Delivery

Multi-angle, Multi-user, Multi-purpose




Main features:


  • Yellow and black for mobile UI, in accordance with CoBHS's theme color

  • Shows users which potential projection location is available, acting as a scheduling system for projection locations

  • Allows students to showcase and rotate their work, and makes it easier for both students and teachers to present and participate in discussions

  • The community feature allows users to view what others are presenting and enables them to add asynchronous comments with more flexibility

  • A multi-angle projection system makes it easier to accommodate tight spaces

The "big room" after

05. Conclusion

Design With Users In Mind

We hosted a poster session for a wide range of stakeholders, including the principal and students of CoBHS, and multiple instructors at CMU. We received feedback that this design has the potential to be applied to other spaces, such as museums. Moreover, the students were excited to try this as currently they only have one TV screen and one projector. One instructor pointed out that this design is mainly conceptual considering the cost and technical requirements for actual implementation. 

My takeaways from this project:


  • In-depth research methodologies - I've learned a lot about how to lead and conduct focus groups and speed-dating sessions, and the cultural probe is an intriguing way to investigate what users are feeling and thinking. 


  • It's essential to focus on the problem - it's easy to lose sight of this when we're head-deep in the ideation stage, taking a step back and referring back to research helps bring clarity to the pain points and lets us prioritize user needs. 

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