Collage of college students graduating, amongst mountains and illustrations of a target and computer monitor displaying data in a bar chart

Education Technology

The Challenge

Driven by the collective efforts of advisors, teachers, and trusted adults, holistic advising has proved effective for steering students, irrespective of their backgrounds, towards credentials of value. The Coordinating Board for Higher Education (i.e., The Coordinating Board) in one of the largest states in the country aspired to establish a holistic and equitable advising system for all Learners (e.g., students and returning adults). Consequently, they enlisted the help of Artefact to delve into the needs and experiences of Learners and Supporters (e.g., advisors, counselors, parents, teachers, friends, and mentors) to develop a way forward.

The Outcome

Our six-month collaboration resulted in a comprehensive and actionable 5-year strategy and roadmap grounded in Learner and Supporter insights. It includes plans to modernize the Coordinating Board’s suite of digital advising tools, increase the availability of human support, and develop advisor effectiveness through training and capacity building. Since delivering the strategy, the state’s Commissioner approved the roadmap, and the initial phase is currently under implementation.

“I feel fortunate that I have people to encourage me on my journey to go back to school.”


The Challenge

The tech landscape is rapidly evolving, with the metaverse and web3 redefining the social spaces in which young people carry out their online lives. Hopelab, a social innovation lab and impact investor, wanted to explore how it may influence, design, and invest in these spaces to support youth in their mental health and well-being, particularly those from BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities. Hopelab engaged with Artefact to understand the current and future state of web3 and the metaverse to uncover actionable areas of opportunity Hopelab can readily act upon.

The Outcome

We created a comprehensive set of principles and opportunity areas that informed Hopelab’s strategy aimed at influencing and activating emerging technologies in support of youth well-being. Our research with subject matter experts, youth advocates, and creators clarified what young people are experiencing online and resulted in six principles describing what youth want in a better tech future. We also conducted several co-design workshops with Hopelab teams to create alignment on the key opportunities for partnership with organizations at the frontlines of creating equity in digital spaces.

Gen Z statistics about web3 and metaverse

64% of Gen Z are somewhat or very interested in creating an avatar for the metaverse (Source Statista,2022)

56% of Gen Z are somewhat or very interested in attending a live music event in the metaverse (Source Statista, 2022)

23% of Gen Z have owned or traded a cryptocurreny (Source, Investopedia, 2022)

63% of Gen Z are confident that DAOs will improve how companies are run in the future (Source Survey Monkey, 2022)

A key question Hopelab posed is whether the metaverse and web3 will exacerbate the harms youth already experience on the internet today or whether things might be different. It’s undeniable that the metaverse and web3 will host a series of dark activity, such as bad actors, extreme content, echo chambers, privacy breaches, and surveillance capitalism, all issues that proliferate on today’s internet. In fact, the immersive nature of the metaverse may make some harms more acute and traumatic. Furthermore, the volatility of digital currencies can cause financial distress, leaving those who invested more vulnerable to market crashes, like content creators or small businesses.

And yet, there is reason for hope. The metaverse and web3 offer new and exciting opportunities for youth to gather, play, experiment, exchange ideas, and create. All of which are critical developmental assets for adolescents that promote wellness and the ability to thrive. Well-being is supported through rich social experiences on platforms like Fortnite and Roblox. And on web3, young people are starting careers that weren’t previously viable, finding new audiences and fanbases, creating financial independence, and finding and contributing to caring communities. Communities are engaging in these spaces while building their creativity, socioemotional, and critical thinking skills online.

With this context in mind, we focused our research on how best to mitigate the harms of these technologies and build technology that supports youth mental health and well-being as a force for good. Our research and strategy process combined expert voices alongside youth advocates and BIPOC LGBTQ+ artists to gather a holistic perspective on impact, ethics, responsibilities, and initiatives.

“For the average youth, there’s probably a lot of benefits to [these emerging technologies], and they may not feel so much of the downside. But there are vulnerable populations whose lives are horribly impacted in a very negative way, so it’s pluses and minuses. The average kid’s going to get through this and probably find a number of benefits, but we have vulnerable populations and they’re going to struggle with this.”

Image Credit: Idoru

Image Credit: Fortnite

Image Credit: Tripp VR

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Journey into the Metaverse

Metaverses will likely integrate into our lives by extension of social norms

1. Youth are plugged in to daily online activity through family, gaming, pop culture, school, and media consumption
2. There are many positive aspects to being online, such as being informed and entertained. At the same time, there’s a constant pressure to be online and in tune with pop culture
3. Metaverse spaces are novel, fun, and exciting, offering new possibilities for self expression and social engagement
4.Metaverses will be introduced as an natural extension of current digital identities, especially as it becomes integrated into social media

Journey into web3

A common gateway into web3 is a passion for art and social impact

1.There is often an initial skepticism of web3, which  means it “all feels fake at first”. Many find their first foray into this technology through passion projects
2. Owning assets like NFTs or being a part of DAOs gives youth a positive experience, and web3 becomes more tangible and worthwhile
3. Challenges include staying up to date with a rapidly changing technology, navigating bugs and scammers, and encountering racist or aggressive communities online
4. Overall, there’s an excitement around web3 as it offers new avenues to creative careers, and promotes values of ownership, community, validation, equity, and freedom to explore and create

“Some members of Gen Z don’t exactly attach to the metaverse right away because I think we have yet to be given the value add. It’s another platform you can be with your friends on, and we already have very many versions of ourselves on social media. But the potential it has is huge. If the metaverse is a place in which you can have psychological safety, where there’s social and emotional growth and there are platforms dedicated to that at every level of execution, when you ask me about my excitement, that’s a 10 out of 10.”

“At the end of the day, whether it’s Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, LinkedIn, any of them really, you are supporting their platform. It’s not your platform. We have to rely on them and hope the don’t crash or end up being sold to someone that’s going to change the algorithm in a way that all these people that follow me right now can no longer engage with me[…]This is a lot of work, especially when all of these platforms keep changing their technology, entry point and qualifiers.”

The six principles are 

Autonomy: Youth have the freedom to choose how they spend their time online, creating healthier, more actionable and intentional time spent. 

Curiosity: Youth build experience, self-esteem, and self-knowledge as they experiment with and use web3 and metaverse technologies.

Connection: Youth form pro-social relationships with individuals and communities that share their passions, whom they are able to rely on for multiple forms of support.

Inclusion: Youth are valued stakeholders and are encouraged to pursue opportunities that support their passions and highlight their diverse perspectives.

Community-Driven: Youth voices and community-led organizations are shifting platforms to center shared social values and needs, promoting constructive forms of social and civic engagement.

Transparency: Youth have increased trust and safety in emerging technologies because they have visibility into their technical structure and the people who make them.

Young people feel the impact of technology in their daily lives for better or worse. And they are willing and ready to express their viewpoints and enact change. There is a collective call towards a different future that supports their efforts towards autonomy, curiosity, and connection.

The current energy around the metaverse and web3 is exciting because, much like generative AI, the technology is still emerging, and there is room to shape conversations, actions, and decisions. These technologies will mature and be harder to influence in the coming years. Though diving into the early stages of development may seem overwhelming and ambiguous, it allows Hopelab and its partners to initiate positive change from the onset. We are excited about the work Hopelab is doing to support the next generation to establish a better, more healthy relationship with today’s technologies and those coming in the near future.

Learn more about Hopelab by visiting the website and following it on LinkedIn.

“This is new tech. I think it’s important for communities like ours to be loud and to reassure women and to encourage them to participate so that they don’t miss out.”

Header image showing an phone screen of a patient's cultural profile and a tablet screen of the dynamic visit feature. Surrounding the devices are images of different people representing both patient and providers.

Health + Technology

The Challenge

The United States healthcare system struggles to holistically serve increasingly diverse patient populations. Existing care excludes many factors that acknowledge a patient’s personal and cultural identities, negatively affecting healthcare access, experiences, and outcomes. 
+ Marginalized identities receive less quality care 
+ Diverse language speakers have less access to medical information 
+ Multicultural communities are unable to establish trust in providers 

The Outcome

Traverse leverages digital tools and technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to support culturally responsive patient-provider interactions across the primary care journey.  

It helps bridge the gap between providers steeped in biomedical systems and patients with increasingly diverse lifeworlds, so providers can address their patients’ whole identities and backgrounds, leading to better health outcomes. 

“[My doctors] treat me as if I had no rights. As if I weren’t human. Many times, my doctors have refused to treat my asthma and diabetes. They allege my problems are mental, they dismiss the symptoms I describe to them and mock me because I am trans.”

Personalized care that is powered by a decentralized identity wallet

The Traverse system is built on top of a digital identity wallet that encrypts all sensitive personal, cultural, social, and familial data shared by patients and stores it in a decentralized manner on the blockchain. A patient’s smartphone acts as the key for unlocking their digital identity with providers who can use the data to seamlessly tailor care unique to patient needs, preferences, and values. This self-sovereign approach ensures that patient data is portable across providers, accessed with explicit consent, and controlled directly by the patient.

Traverse uses digital tools to support patient and provider interactions across the primary care journey.


Connecting patients to best-fit providers

By leveraging the personal and cultural profiles stored in patient digital identity wallets, Traverse sorts and presents patients with local providers who align with different facets of their background, culture, and identity.

In addition, detailed provider profiles highlight and display reviews from anonymized patients with similar data profiles. These features deliver relevant community insights, helping patients select culturally-aligned healthcare providers.

Setting expectations for clinical visits

The digital onboarding experience details what to expect during clinical encounters, helping patients avoid uncomfortable surprises with providers. This stage aims to bring familiarity and alleviate anxiety for patients who may experience discomfort or mistrust in clinical and medical systems.

Contextual tips for providers on the go

Providers are given a digital tip board that summarizes a patient’s concerns, cultural background, alternative medical perspectives, and other factors that impact how providers might provide care and communicate with the patient.

Traverse also suggests relevant patient interview questions and delivers reminders about patient identity details to enable more culturally responsive care that considers an individual’s multi-dimensional lifeworld.

Clinical visit

During clinical visits, providers use a tablet that acts as an AI-based digital scribe. Using natural language processing (NLP), the Dynamic Visit feature listens to conversations between patients and providers. It then delivers discussion prompts and relevant resources to providers, which can be accessed in real-time or referenced later.

Traverse acts as an interpretation tool to bridge patient-provider understanding gaps. For example, providers caring for patients who value alternative medical approaches, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), would be coached to integrate them into treatment plans.

In situations where providers need more support communicating health details to patients, personalized flashcards can be presented for better understanding.

After visit

Digital coaching throughout the day

Providers receive immediate feedback, between clinical visits, from AI-enabled conversations with patients. The Dynamic Visit feature uses NLP to analyze discussions and delivers actionable tips to make on-the-go adjustments based on communication factors such as agreeableness, compassion, and positivity.

For the provider

Relevant cultural factors the AI scribe presents in patient conversations are re-surfaced and integrated into provider EHR systems for easy reference. Allowing providers to engage more deeply with the information and help outline culturally responsive after-care instructions.

Providers can also grab real-time learnings by engaging with content in the sidebar. They are encouraged to expand their cultural competence with courses that help fulfill continued medical education (CME) credits.

For the patient

After visits, patients receive a follow-up note from providers summarizing their visit and outlining the next steps in a culturally responsive way. For example, to address affordability concerns, specialist referrals might show expected out-of-pocket cost information and help navigate insurance and public benefits.

Similarly, non-medical interventions such as diet and lifestyle changes can be contextualized within the cultures and communities that shape how patients view and experience health.

Agency means that patients have a right to exercise control in their healthcare decision-making. They have the ability to locate culturally appropriate care and therapeutic options through interactions that reaffirm their dignity.

Understanding requires bidirectional communication where vital medical, cultural, and contextual information is shared in patient-provider conversations, giving providers a strong sense of culturally appropriate treatment options and patients the ability to choose between them.

Transparency involves providing visibility at every step of the medical journey to support patient decision-making. It means giving them clear guidance on what to expect during medical appointments so they can best prepare how they see fit.

Social impact

Discover and understand technology related issues that animate youth activism and the barriers young people face to support social change venture, Omidyar Network’s, vision of a technological ecosystem that empowers youth and makes technology outcomes more accountable, equitable, and inclusive.

Generative research and strategy recommendations informed directly by youth voices. Our research revealed seven recurring issues that youth are focused on today, helping to align areas of focus and opportunity to Omidyar Network’s core strategies. Recommendations for a wider group of philanthropies and funders were also created.

“Artefact’s roots in human-centered design made them the ideal partner to help Omidyar Network create a strategy inclusive of youth voices. Their commitment to centering youth voices throughout the process generated actionable insights and recommendations. Omidyar Network is excited to use these findings to shape future engagements with digital natives. ”

Informing strategy with inclusive & continuous research

Omidyar Network needed actionable insights to ensure their learning strategy serves, supports, and empowers youth. To achieve this, we pursued a mixed methods research approach that included social listening, in-depth 1:1 interviews, and focus groups discussions with young people who have spoken about how technology is affecting their generation.  

Whether it was engaging digital natives to comment on our preliminary research insights, or inviting them to attend a key milestone presentation to Omidyar Network, we sought to ensure digital native voices remained centered throughout.

Identifying and centering seven focal issues that activate youth

Our research revealed a common theme – today’s youth is a generation attuned to the systemic and interrelated nature of many of the issues they are passionate about.

While the topics young activists care about are diverse, we identified seven recurring focal issues that animate youth today. These seven areas can help Omidyar Network and other social change ventures gain a deeper understanding of digital native activists and their generation-specific journey, experiences, challenges, and needs.

Understanding the three core needs of young activists

Now that the seven focal issues at the heart of digital natives have been identified. A second question arose: what do youth activists need for sustained, organized, and successful activism? Again using a mixed-methods approach, Artefact continued conversations with youth participants to discover their needs, and apply those discoveries to Omidyar Network’s funding and philanthropic strategy.

Our conversation with digital native activists and leaders revealed many areas of need that youth organizers have regardless of the focal issue of their activism. The diverse needs could however be bucketed into three categories: personal, organizational, and external needs.


Needs related to current and aspiring activists as people

Maintain balance

How might we make activism more balanced, sustainable, and life-affirming for individuals?
What if digital natives had access to youth activist support circles, workshops, and wellness retreats?

Enable focus & flexibility

How might we create freedom for young activists to evolve and grow beyond one issue or model of change?
What if there was a youth activist cohort designed for or co-created with digital natives?


Needs related to running a youth-led organization

Build infrastructure

How might we reduce the administrative burdens and risks associated with organizing?
What if resources and consulting on the organizational landscape were committed to digital natives?

Sustain momentum

How might we help youth-led organizations maintain momentum over time?
What if digital natives received stipends or compensation for their work?

Create healthy partnerships

How might we support mutually beneficial partnerships that are respectful?
What if mixers, chats, or formal mentorship offerings existed for digital natives?


Needs related to interacting with others

Create space for impact

How might we help digital natives find places where their voices are valued?
What if digital natives received invitations to participate (through grants, fellowships, and competitions)?

Reimagine standards

How might we reimagine the evaluation standards for digital natives?
What if there were programs that met activists where they are?

“Young people starting their own thing need to believe in a cause, and commit to investing in it […] The fast paced nature of online social justice discourse has made it the norm to care about caring about things.

That’s not enough. We need mission, community, and a deep, collective sense of care.”

Recommendations for investing in better futures for our youth

With insights, opportunities, and organizational goals aligned, Artefact helped Omidyar Network ask actionable and generative questions. If teams were to consider allocating resources to address personal needs in youth activists, for example, they can ask “how might we create freedom for young activists to evolve and grow beyond one issue or model of change?”

Asking questions such as these, will help focus Omidyar Networks’s offerings and serve as a gut-check to ensure efforts continue to center youth needs.

What we delivered

+ Generative research

+ Ecosystem mapping

+ Strategic assessment

Learn more about our expertise


Transform MacuLogix’s groundbreaking automated dark adaptometer from a tabletop research device into a patient-centered, wearable system to enable eye care professionals to more effectively detect and monitor age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

A responsive, adaptable, and smart AMD testing experience designed for the needs of patients, technicians, and clinicians.

“Artefact was a fantastic team and partner. They are thoughtful about technology and care deeply about the user. Thanks to Artefact’s great product design and guidance on user experience, the AdaptDx Pro has been a smash hit.”

A more accessible and comfortable screening experience

AMD is the leading cause of adult blindness in developed countries, affecting one in eight adults over 60 years old.

MacuLogix has led the medical field in AMD screening since launching its novel dark adaptation testing device in 2014. Yet this large tabletop device was difficult to use for many patients and required a specialized dark room at significant up-front cost to eye care professionals.

We partnered with MacuLogix to help transform this tabletop tool into a comfortable screening experience for people of all abilities, helping eye care professionals improve patient outcomes through earlier and more accurate diagnosis of AMD.

“The AdaptDx Pro is so much easier [than the tabletop device] because you don’t have to put your chin on the device. This is far more comfortable. I can actually lean back. I can relax.”

Supporting patients of all abilities

Artefact helped MacuLogix transform its tabletop medical device into the most accessible, head-mounted testing tool of its kind.

The comfortable, lightweight, and flexible experience serves patients of all physical abilities, including those with wheelchairs or who are bedridden.

Improving patient outcomes
through early detection

Early detection and proactive disease management are key to preventing vision loss from AMD, but historically AMD testing has been based on late-stage symptoms alone.

The flexibility and ease of the AdaptDx Pro allows eye care professionals to increasingly test based on age (the leading risk factor), transforming AMD testing from a reactive to preventative approach.

Increasing accuracy and efficiency of screening

Better usability and less workflow friction help technicians screen patients faster and more easily.

Consistent, automated testing instructions and adaptive feedback powered by the AdaptDx Pro’s AI assistant “Theia” reduce risk of patient or technician error and increase the exam’s reliability.

Exam automation also empowers technicians to multi-task and screen multiple patients simultaneously, further increasing the rate of successful screening.

Designing for all stakeholders

Artefact led generative primary research with patients, eye care professionals, and technicians to gain empathy and identify opportunities for the new AdaptDx Pro system. We then conducted evaluative prototype testing to determine the best experience concept for all stakeholders.

Our research uncovered key insights to inform the design and experience of the AdaptDx Pro – from the importance of retaining social connection for patients throughout the automated test, to ensuring that technicians are aware of what the patient is experiencing during the exam by including an external-facing embedded display on the headset.

“The AdaptDx Pro is so vital to the care we provide that another unit had to be purchased to accommodate our increased volume.”

Preventing vision loss from AMD

MacuLogix envisions a future where everyone 50 years of age and older can access accurate and efficient AMD screening. The AdaptDx Pro will enable clinics to scale their practices by testing more patients across different contexts and increasing the number of patients who receive early AMD detection and treatment.

We’re proud to be a part of MacuLogix’s vision to eliminate blindness caused by AMD.

What we delivered

+ Generative research

+ Concept envisioning

+ Strategic assessment

+ Experience design + strategy

+ Evaluative research

+ Capacity building

Learn more about our expertise


Leverage Arizona State University’s online learning platforms to support institutions serving nontraditional learners so that they have better access to courses, communities, and opportunities.

A vision for a customizable platform experience where institutions can access ASU courses, pathways, and degrees, and contextualize them for the unique needs of their learners.

“Artefact was a valuable partner in helping us realize our vision to improve equity in higher education. This work will impact so many learners and we are excited for what’s to come.”

Transforming traditional models of education

The Arizona State University (ASU) Learning Enterprise is dedicated to expanding the university’s online courses, platforms, and digital learning technology to nontraditional organizations such as high schools, community colleges, minority-serving institutions, and corporate education groups.

As the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the existing inequities in higher education, ASU recognized that many nontraditional institutions pushed into digital learning lacked the courseware to provide continued online education and the technology platforms to deliver it to students.

We partnered with ASU to help evolve their existing online learning platform so that a diverse group of institutions can better purchase, adopt and scale ASU courses and degree programs both on their own and through ASU-hosted platforms.

Helping institutions scale courses with ease

We designed ASU’s online learning platform to help prospective partner institutions quickly and easily customize a unique learning offering for their organization.

Potential partners can browse and filter courses and certificates; sign up and procure learning offerings; set up a management dashboard to generate insight reports; and export courses to their existing learning management systems – all in one powerful platform.

Empowering learners to forge their own path

The learner platform helps students achieve their educational goals through ASU partner offerings.

Learners can enroll and select courses, track their progress, and browse new offerings to help develop a unique pathway toward earning a certificate.

“Artefact’s fantastic design skills and clear understanding of engineering enabled them to design meaningful solutions that development teams can build. They were a great partner.”

Foolproof tools for engineering

To ensure seamless handoff between design and development, we created an information architecture and user experience flow that engineering teams could easily track to.

This included a set of experience prototypes to convey the ideal platform experience for learners and administrators; a design component library and specifications to help developers build our vision; and a landing page template to guide the creation of new visual styles for prospective institutions.

Lifting barriers to education

ASU’s online learning platform is an innovative new business model poised to advance equity in higher education by reducing barriers to access.

With greater acceptance and adoption of distance learning due to the pandemic, ASU and its partner institutions are well positioned to expand access to courses, pathways, and degrees for all learners, today and tomorrow.

What we delivered

+ Concept envisioning

+ Experience design

Learn more about our expertise


The Challenge

Evolve philanthropic venture capital firm Omidyar Network’s ethical design resource into an impactful and accessible toolkit that encourages teams to question and address the implications of their products on people and society.

The Outcome

The Ethical Explorer Pack: a physical and digital toolkit to pioneer a new standard for building tech that’s safer, healthier, fairer, and more inclusive for all. Its inviting narrative and lightweight physicality keeps it on-hand and front-of-mind during important discussions.

“Artefact was the ideal partner to bring our vision to life in the Ethical Explorer Pack. The team provided thought and care every step of the way, with excellent communication and beautiful final output.”

An approachable, actionable guide

Omidyar Network works to ensure that technology is a force for good in our communities.

They launched the EthicalOS design resource in collaboration with the Institute for the Future (IFTF) to encourage technologists across the industry to think through the risk areas and consequences of the products they create.

We partnered with Omidyar Network to transform the EthicalOS document into a refined, relevant, and accessible toolkit that technology designers are excited to engage with and promote throughout the product development process.

Who is the Ethical Explorer?

The Ethical Explorer brand represents those in a technology organization who want to serve and support ethical values in design, foster an inquisitive culture, and ignite positive change through dialogue.

Generating awareness and conversation around tech ethics among peers is not easy. It can sometimes feel like an uphill battle, full-time job, and unchartered territory all rolled into one.

Championing this work takes continuous commitment and exploration. Thus, the Ethical Explorer was created.

Mapping the ethical risks in technology

The Ethical Explorer Pack centers around eight Tech Risk Zones such as algorithmic bias, bad actors, and disinformation.

Each zone features a unique illustration that expresses unforeseen danger and potential challenges Explorers might encounter in the wild. The color of each Risk Zone is intentionally vibrant to represent danger and command attention.

The Risk Zone Cards

The Risk Zone cards provoke thoughtful conversation around responsibility and impact, no matter where you are in a products lifecycle.

Each card has three types of questions to help teams figure out where they stand, anticipate risk, or lead the way when it comes to radical change.

The Field Guide

Complementing the Risk Zone cards, the Field Guide suggests five different activities to help both individuals and groups start their journey toward more ethical technology and gain buy-in within their organizations. Explore as a group to build habits moving forward, or reflect and challenge past decisions on your own.

Unique stickers let Explorers show off their passion and advocacy for ethical, inclusive, and safe technology.

Equipping designers for the road ahead

We created the Ethical Explorer Pack as a starting point. Designed to not only help technologists find their “moral compass,” it also encourages them to advocate for a responsible movement in technology – one that’s grounded in asking questions, challenging norms, and creating a future where tech products are built with responsibility at the core.

What we delivered

+ Generative research

+ Foresight

+ Concept envisioning

+ Strategic assessment

+ Capacity building

Learn more about our expertise


The COVID-19 pandemic cast a spotlight on an essential service many of us take for granted: the grocery store.

Customers now expect more of their grocery shopping experience: safety and efficiency in-store, a fast and reliable online experience, and the flexibility to choose how and when to make purchases.

We imagined three ways that emerging technology might help customers shop with more confidence, while ensuring businesses efficiently manage guest volume, protect employees, and sustain revenue.

1. Guiding safe behavior

Grocery stores encourage browsing by design, and have struggled to manage traffic and protect essential staff during the pandemic. Wider aisles and static signage alone don’t inspire efficient behavior and are often ignored.

Smart augmented reality way-finding could direct store traffic in real time, helping customers navigate more efficiently and reducing the burden on store employees to monitor and enforce social distancing.

The technology

A combination of vision technology and object-tracking AI in-store could project augmented reality boundaries around customers to encourage proper social distancing. Guided route projections update and re-direct based on real-time data to reduce interaction and optimize routes.

Projections could also act as responsive aisle signage, indicating direction based on real-time store traffic and closing aisles to accommodate workers cleaning or stocking the area.

2. Forecasting risk

Customer movement, proximity, and shopping duration are all factors that increase the risk of virus transmission.

We imagine a system that tracks this data to determine and communicate the risk status of stores.

The technology

Vision technology like in-store object recognition, or crowdsourced GPS data, could gather real-time information on factors such as peak traffic hours, how long shoppers linger, and proximity to others, generating a risk status for each store.

Access to accurate store data on these factors might allow for less-restrictive containment policies, reducing the economic impact of store closures.

An AI assistant might predictively manage this data to help customers identify stores with the lowest risk at the time they want to shop, or find the optimal hours to visit their preferred grocery – all without leaving the house.

3. Bringing the best of in-store, online

Once considered a luxury, online grocery shopping has become a necessity for many. Vulnerable populations in particular have adopted the approach, with seniors comprising the largest new demographic of online shoppers since the pandemic.

We envision an elegant and immersive online shopping experience that introduces the familiarity of in-store shopping. Customers navigate by store sections, allowing them to discover forgotten items or be inspired by new ingredients just as they would in a physical store.

The technology

In-store cameras or robots with embedded vision technology could scan shelves daily, allowing shoppers to see and select available items.

Tools in the platform to compare size, color, and ripeness allow customers to “feel” information akin to shopping in a store.

What’s next for food retail?

While the percentage of grocery sales online is estimated to more than triple as a result of the pandemic, 87% of people still prefer to buy in-person. Customers will continue to visit brick-and-mortar stores to explore the possibilities of food and engage with their community.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced retailers to focus on risk, yet grocery shopping is an inherently tactile experience. Physical stores may transition into smaller showrooms that customers visit to socialize with staff and discover new ingredients and recipes, while staple items and consumer packaged goods are automatically delivered to their homes.

We see the possibility of emerging technology to support such evolving norms around shopping and help craft a future where both brick-and-mortar and online shopping are integrated into one seamless, safe experience.


The Challenge

The effects of climate change and urbanization are increasing the frequency and severity of crises like natural disasters and pandemics, yet less than half of Americans have an emergency plan for their household.

How might we help people better understand risk, take smart steps to becoming prepared, and more effectively leverage the power of community to help each other in times of need?

The Outcome

Navis is a conceptual emergency preparedness system that guides people in planning for, and responding to, crisis scenarios.

The app uses conversational UI and augmented reality to help people create a personalized emergency plan on their preferred devices. The durable polycarbonate home hub helps people stay connected during an emergency and translate plans into action.

Combining behavior change research with the possibilities of emerging technology, Navis reduces barriers to emergency planning and helps people better assist their communities
during a crisis.

A simple, personalized
way to prepare

According to cognitive psychology research, decision-making biases like short-termism and underestimating scale deter people from assessing their risks or preparing an emergency plan. The Navis concept makes emergency planning easy and intuitive.

A guided onboarding experience reduces barriers to getting started. The app’s “preparation mode” uses calming colors and clear directives to communicate stability and encourage engagement. It provides positive reinforcement and helpful tips as users progress on their preparedness journey.

Convenient and conversational

Most of the necessary information for your plan is collected through conversation with the app. Every question answered adjusts what additional details are gathered about your household. The app syncs across all smart devices, allowing people to work on their plan at their convenience, on the devices they prefer.

Visualizing risks
in the home

It’s hard to imagine how your home will be affected by an emergency such as an earthquake or fire. We envision using the power of augmented reality to make risks tangible and help people see the unseen.

Augmented-reality scans throughout the home identify risks based on emergencies that might occur in your specific location. The app could detect dangerous items or exits that may become blocked, and generate insights such as suggested places to shelter.

A tailored plan

The app guides households through a series of bite-sized modules that gather essential information such as geographic location, discretionary income, individual age and ability, and household medical and dietary considerations.

Navis would automatically generate a personalized plan and curated emergency kit unique to each household’s needs and the risks relevant to where they live.

A dependable
guide when infrastructure is disrupted

The Navis concept transforms your preparedness plan into concrete action for any type of crisis – whether your smartphone is working, or standard technology and infrastructure is unavailable.

The heat, flame, and water-resistant polycarbonate home hub is designed to withstand force. It remains synced with your preparedness plan at all times.

In an emergency, the app and home hub alert you of a crisis occurring and prompt through voice and screen to set a status as safe or needing help. Once marked safe, it directs you to begin your personalized emergency plan.

Consistent connectivity

As a mesh network node, we envisioned the home hub to help you communicate with neighbors and loved ones by connecting to other home hubs or smartphones nearby, creating a resilient local network across neighborhoods.

This network range has the potential to provide communication capabilities when standard networks are unavailable.

A robust hub

The e-ink display screen and triple-power LED lights indicate status while providing options for ambient and directional lighting. The low energy draw of e-ink and LEDs allow the hub to function for weeks without a charge. In addition to USB and USB-C charging ports, it features a solar panel for back-up charging.

In a crisis, we reach for familiar technology first. The “emergency mode” on the Navis app and home hub helps people communicate and act on their emergency plan from any device.

Put plans
into action

In a disaster situation, the Navis app shifts into “emergency mode,” using high-contrast color and typography to provide clear directions. Contextualized actions displayed on both the home hub and your mobile device help you take quick action based on your unique preparedness plan.

Locate family
and friends

Navis automatically syncs your family’s statuses to your app and home hub, helping you check on loved ones and identify who needs help in your community. Colors communicate status at a glance, displaying neighbors who have requested assistance.

Empowering neighbors as first responders

Communities cannot rely on institutions alone for support in times of crisis. It can take days for emergency services to arrive after a disaster, and neighbors are often the first to respond to those in need. Helping communities help themselves is the key to keeping people safe in an emergency.

Navis imagines how communities can share resources and skills during and after an emergency. Through the skill-matching feature, users can request assistance in the app or identify neighbors that need help. The portable home hub also allows people to easily transport it to those nearby who may not have connectivity or power.

Connecting people to a local community of prepared homes deters reactive behavior like panic buying and helps communities more effectively coordinate among themselves in times of crisis.

“You want to take as much pressure off of first responders as possible so they can triage effectively…What matters in terms of disaster response and recovery is community connection and social cohesion.”

Fostering resilient, inclusive communities

Disasters disproportionately affect vulnerable populations. We envision the Navis system to expand beyond individual preparedness alone to better equip and inform communities at large. Just one Navis system in a community center or shelter, for example, could aid a wider population in need.

By helping people build an interconnected network of prepared households, communities can better support their vulnerable neighbors and build broader resilience. Concepts like Navis demonstrate opportunity for responsible design to deliver more equitable experiences and drive positive community impact.


Is privacy dead? From our homes to our heartbeats, the devices, apps, and appliances that surround us constantly collect data from almost every action we take – awake or asleep.

This data is growing exponentially. Quintillions of bytes of data are generated each day, with the entire digital universe doubling every two years. As facial recognition and ubiquitous sensors become commonplace, the system that comprises our personal data will increasingly monetize our attention at every turn. It is clear that not all companies – or even governments – share the same approach to data privacy, leaving our personal information vulnerable to neglect, misuse, or even weaponization.

Continuing down this path risks a future where data privacy and anonymity is a luxury for the wealthy, powerful, and digitally literate. Without the right tools working in conjunction with the right regulatory policy, we will lose the capacity to manage this intimate picture of our lives.

At Artefact, we are exploring a future with a radically different paradigm for personal data collection and ownership. A future where our data works for us, on our terms. A future with Kagi to help.

Kagi (pronounced “kah-ghee”) is a conceptual intelligent agent that stores and manages personal data on an individual’s behalf. Named after the Japanese word for “key,” Kagi is both a secure data repository and an intermediary between our experiences and the data they generate.

Kagi uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to recognize a person’s data privacy preferences and, over time, earn the ability to make increasingly important decisions for them. Kagi is invisible and automatic, eliminating the need to spend time mired in personal data management. It gives people the power to fully own their data and control its use.

Returning data ownership to the individual

Even the most routine digital services incentivize users to continually share personal data with no visibility around how it is utilized. People may inadvertently grant an e-mail provider permission to scan private messages for tailored advertising, or allow a ride-hailing service to record their location data even after closing an app.

Kagi makes it simple for anyone to secure their personal data and understand how it might be used. It stores a person’s entire personal data footprint, acting as an intermediary between the platforms that collect it and brokering deals with the services that want to use it. Unlike today, Kagi prioritizes the interests of people over platforms.

An advocate in the public domain

Imagine entering a pharmacy of the future. Biometric scanners track your identity, facial recognition senses your mood, AI cross-references your past buying patterns to influence your behavior, and a mixed-reality interface directs you toward certain products – all before you’ve even picked up a shopping basket.

Kagi acts as a real-time data advocate amidst a world of connected technology and predictive personalization, helping people control the impact this surveillance has on their lives.

Monetizing data – on our terms

We envision a future where we not only protect and control our personal data but unlock new ways of creating real value. Kagi gives people ownership and control over how their data is sold, giving rise to a marketplace where people harness their data in the ways that work best for them.

Kagi shifts data-driven business models so that individuals are in the seller’s seat and decide how to leverage their personal data. When people protect their personal data from automatic access, we expect new services to emerge that allow them to monetize or extract value from their data in new ways.

From data-driven medical research to policymaking and planning smart cities, there are several ways society could benefit from a voluntary exchange of connected and integrated data where people are fairly compensated.

We envision a future where individual choice defines personal data ownership. Intelligent assistants like Kagi are just one piece in a future paradigm of empowered data ownership. There is ample opportunity for technology to help align all data stakeholders – from individuals to businesses to policymakers – in navigating our ever-expanding digital data universe.