How much do you really know about how your products are produced?



In the age of convince most people have no idea where and how the products they use every day are produced. With anything anyone could ever want available cheaply at the nearest Walmart or with a click of a button online, it is incredibly easy for the modern citizen to not consider the ethical and environmental impacts of their buying habits. This includes everything from food to clothing to household products. The project will show how animals and workers are exploited for these products as well as the carbon footprint caused by production and transportation. The goal of this project is to spark change by inspiring people to making better decisions as consumers. This project would ideally be launched on October 16th, 2017, the UN’s World Food Day, since one of the main focuses of this project is choosing more sustainable food choices.



“The Secret Life of Stuff” is a social campaign aimed at showing Americans the ethical and environmental impacts of their buying habits. This campaign will have several different applications including: an interactive installation, a website, as well as an app and social media accounts. The interactive installation would allow users to pick up different products and place them on a console where information about how that product was made and the impacts it has will be graphically shown on a screen. Each product will have a sensor embedded inside of it that will interact with an Arduino which will be inside of the console. The website will have information about the campaign and show videos of the installation as well as short documentaries on the different products. The app will allow users to search different products and read about the ethical and environmental impacts of those products and find more sustainable alternatives. By using both digital and analog applications of this project it will be able to reach a wide variety of people.



The instillation prototype uses Arduino and Processing. I used an RFID card reader attached to an Arduino to read three different objects. The ID numbers of those objects were then sent to Processing where they trigger a video associated with the objects to start playing.

I attached an RFID card to three different toy objects: a burger, makeup and a plastic plate. The burger symbolized beef, the makeup symbolized cosmetics and the plate symbolized plastic. I embedded the Arduino into a toy cash register and attached it to my computer which ran the Processing code. I connected my computer to a larger monitor to display the videos properly.