Friend R&D


Friend Research & Development is a series of experiments that explore creative and technological solutions for the problems I am facing as a friend: How do I engage with friends who are far away? How do I turn new friends into close friends? How do I remind myself to reach out to certain friends I want to keep in touch with? What are other meaningful ways to interact with friends?

Each experiment will attempt to solve one friendship-related problem and will comprise of at least three components:

  1. A Friend or Friends - no experiment will be done alone. Whether they are aware of it or not, one or more of my friends will be involved in each experiment.
  2. A Technology - anything from an old technology like a clock to a new technology like 3D printing. I want to use technology in a way that serves my friendships and not simply used as a novelty.
  3. A Metaphor - what if my friendship was like a room? A city? A book? Metaphors help me think of my friendships in new ways and drive my creative process.

Why "friendships"?

I believe platonic friendships are largely underrated, particularly in our adulthood. The friendship is a unique type of human relationship that is the most accessible, reciprocal, steady, and humble.

However, being a good friend becomes increasingly hard as we become busier with careers, move to different parts of the world, start relationships, and start families. Many of my close friendships were made from being in steady and close proximity for long periods of time. While in school or when I had roommates, my friendships would grow seemingly without effort. But now, the process must be active. This project is my attempt to actively explore ways I can be a better friend using a combination of my creative energy and background in technology.

Why "research & development"?

"Research and development" typically refers to activities relating to corporate or governmental innovation. R&D is used to tackle large and hard problems using radical methods and technologies in short periods of time. Failure tends to happen often and quickly. This is a mindset I want to adopt in my creative process and my development process for this project.

What is your goal and timeline?

I don't have a hard timeline, but each project will take about one to two months. I hope to complete at least 5 projects in the next year, concluding in mid to late 2017. I hope for each project to transition into a long-term solution that will exist in some form in my personal routines going forward.

About Me

My name is Brian Foo and I am a programmer and artist living and working in New York City. Learn more about what I do on my personal website, reach out to me via email at, or follow me.