CBT Generator

The Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Generator is intended to serve as a kind of psychological mirror or self-therapy device integrated within the infrastructure of a city street.

This interaction is a designed response to the ritual phenomena which stem from when Stranger A asks Stranger B, “How are you?” More specifically, it’s a response to the forces at work when Stranger B replies in the negative.

What are the possible motivations for Stranger B’s honesty in this context?

Is Stranger B really speaking to themselves vicariously through Stranger A?

Would more people be incentivized to initiate this self-reflective work if

  • the question “How are you?” were reframed to presume that something is wrong or imply, “Is there anything on your mind?”

  • the question was posed from within the landscape of pedestrian technology, rather than from Stranger A?

The device gathers three pieces of information about the user, outputs three CBT meditations tailored to the previous user inputs, and prints a receipt summarizing the basic premise of the interaction and how the user might recreate it on their own.


snapshots from the initial field experimentation with research collaborator and all-around great guy, Dave Chan

early sketches explaining the device premise

snapshots from the fabrication process

snapshots from staking out a deployment experiment on campus at ArtCenter

snapshots from staking out outdoor deployments where the device is strapped to the back of my car

Materials Used:

  • Arduino Uno

  • thermal receipt printer

  • iPad

  • code.org

  • Adobe XD

Project Brief:

Design, deploy and document an intervention that explores an issue or question from your work/site this week.

This intervention should allow you to:

  • Gather more specific observations

  • Test out a theory, assumption, curiosity that you have

  • Learn more about a particular area.

The intervention should produce returns that are insightful and advance an area of investigation (meaning “no one used it” should not be the outcome). If the “design” is not resulting in returns or learned outcomes then design it differently (on the spot if necessary). Several attempts will probably be required.