// Hacking Mars (Microsoft & Nasa)


Modular Sensors was a product design concept created for Hacking Mars, a global design challenge for the creation of design solutions for survival on Mars using inclusive design principles.

Hacking Mars was in celebration of the release of The Martian and used the film’s disaster scenario. Andy Weir, author of The Martian, and Jessie Kawata, Creative Strategist as NASA JPL selected our design as the Grand Prize Winner.

my role

I created the concept of the design solution, crafted accompanying visuals, and generated the final submission video.

I brought in Dr. Nis Bojin and Dallas Kasaboski to advise on the feasibility of the space exploration concepts and to iterate further on the design.

Our Solution

Using the scenario and inclusive design principles, we concepted a series of modular sensors that could be re-purposed and combined across the Martian habitat. These sensors could monitor damage through depth sensing or monitor plant life through temperature and climate monitoring. The core focus was modularity so that modules could be dynamic and configurable in the face of the changing disaster scenario.

While serving functional purposes within the habitat, sensors also provide early warnings of problems to help astronauts manage workload, stress, and mental health in a life-threatening scenario.


We were selected as the Grand Prize Winner for this design.

For our efforts, we were awarded $25,000 USD and travelled to Microsoft where we:

  • Met the Hololens team and previewed various experiences

  • Visited Studio 99 at Microsoft Research to preview their work

  • Had lunch of Kat Holmes to discuss Inclusive Design practice

  • Met one-on-one with Jessie Kawata discussing intersections of design thinking with space mission planning at NASA JPL

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