Black Box

It has all the answers.
You provide the questions.

Your life is being recorded. Right now. In all likelihood, you’re doing most of the recording. Through something on your wrist, through your smartphone, your camera, status updates, check-ins, likes, tweets, tags, hashtags, pins, uploads, downloads, comments, and blog posts. And then there’s all the recording being done by others: online trackers, cookies, banks, hospitals, ad agencies, big box stores, security camera, turnstyles, tollbooths, ISPs, the NSA, Neilsen, and private detectives. What do you do with a lifetime of data?

Black Box is a personal unit of hardware created to house all the tiny pieces that compromise the “big data” picture of your life — an all encompassing vessel holding a lifetime of transactions, conversations, likes, secrets, and habits.

Black Box Enlightenment

Information comes at us so fast, and in such high volumes that is can be extremely hard to enjoy it in the moment. To even have a moment. To recognize that moments still exist. The Enlightenment app allows the user to tap into the insightful power of Black Box to enjoy fleeting moments though automatically-generated metadata poetry. It takes the scene presented to it through your smart device and extracts digital poetry from the colors, textures, sounds, objects, and people living in the frame.

Black Box Heirloom

Most families, at different points in their histories, have had self-selective archivists — someone to keep track of who was who, where someone was born and how they died, what exchanged hands under what circumstances, all while cataloguing the gossip, dirty deeds, and secret shames common to every family throughout time. Heirloom is designed to be the family tie that binds. The app connects and quantifies the boxes of family members, pulling out repeated words and tags to identify common interests and shared memories. It can show how close or disconnected a family is, draw parallels between generations, and create a hypothetical window into the future based on the past.

Black Box Verified

You are a liar. It’s not entirely your fault, lying is a result of socialization, a means of self-preservation, and a handy tool. Oftentimes, you don’t even realize you’re lying, because your brain is an even better liar than you are. Verified is here to keep you honest. This Black Box app forces you to account for your data transgressions. It looks at the records you provide — tweets, checkins, updates, etc. — and tried to corroborate them with additional evidence: bank transactions, phone records, and the like. It is quantified truth for a duplicitous world.


Inspired by big data and the quantified self movement, the Black Box project is a hypothetical hard drive that stores a life’s worth of personal data and a series of interfaces to help imagine how we might access it.

Black Box was created in collaboration with Bone & Black, 2015

My role:
Scenarios, UX/UI Design

Martin Bone
Gregory Greme
Kyle Barron-Cohen