When I was 17, I started questioning why I was so uncomfortable talking about my period. It was 2014 and the menstrual taboo hadn’t made its way into the mainstream discourse as it has today. In response to my questioning, a friend and I created a simple web game, Tampon Run, to get people thinking and talking about the stigma around menstruation. Tampon Run went viral overnight, garnering international press, winning a Webby Award for web games and a Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award. We then worked with a team at Pivotal Labs to develop an iOS version of the game and I co-wrote a book for HarperCollins based on our experiences to encourage girls to learn to code and speak up. It was featured on several best book lists. I have also done public speaking globally about these topics.
AR fascinates me, especially face filters. I like filters that make people curious, that push them to play, imagine and create without realizing they are. By augmenting reality, we can enter a parallel world to our own in which we can try out a new character and experiment as their persona. I also like that face filters are both art in themselves and starting points for users to make their own creations. Several thousand people viewed and used my eye monster face filter. One person I saw added some devil horns and gave an evil smirk. My eye monster, on the other hand, is a pretty friendly soul I’d say.
After my past 18 months of full time software engineering, I’ve come to realize that computers, and our relationships with them, are more human than we may think. They exert power over us by keeping us addicted and dependent. We exert power over them by writing the code that lets them run. We need them as portals to the rest of the world. They need us to feed them electricity to function. They overwhelm us with too much information. We do the same back when we open too many tabs, run too many programs. I wanted to visualize this last point: our power to push our computers to their limits. As the number of faces you input increases, so does the choppiness of the animation as the computer loses enough processing power to create a smooth visual.
I love peanut butter and I’ve been making it at home throughout the past year. Supermarket peanut butter machines, common in many grocery stores in the US, haven’t become popular in Berlin, and peanut butter here is often expensive and subpar. I decided I’d start selling my own peanut butter and peanut saute sauce. It turned out though that I was more excited to create the website and branding than to sell my product, so my peanut business is on pause (for now).