Shashwath Santosh is a designer based in New York. Currently at Google Creative Lab.



Black Cat Radar 

Hardware, Interaction, Manufacturing
Collaborator, Researcher

Many of us have encountered the ideology that crossing the path of a black cat will bring calculated misfortune. If only there were a machine that could show you all the black cats in your vicinity, so you could avoid crossing their paths and protect your luck.


To thread uncharted waters, cross disciplines, use my filter as a designer, maker, and thinker, bring a gadget from childhood fantasies to real life, to build it all from scratch by leveraging my background as an industrial designer and the power of genuine global collaboration.

Step 001:

Turn on BCR before leaving safe zone

Step 002:

Analyse your travel trajectory 

Step 003:
Walk while constantly assessing your risk level 

Step 004:
Successfully dodge the path of the black cats, phew

Step 005: 
Mission accomplished 

FIG 003: Using the Joystick, Knobs, Toggle switches, and Command Buttons  


Research indicates that our relationship to thought frameworks, such as superstitious luck, is a uniquely human experience resulting from thousands of years of evolution.

It is part of the complex web of stories we tell ourselves as a species to conveniently situate ourselves in a reality we designed. This guides our imagination around the objects we choose to make and prioritize.


In the larger sphere of the stories we tell ourselves, what if we use design and its language to probe deeper into these cognitions?  What if we treat superstitions as ‘challenges’ worthy of commercial design intervention?

If industrial design grew in and around the priorities and belief systems of the part of the world where I grew up, the black cat radar would be an ‘obvious product.’

FIG 007. Prototyping 1

FIG 05. Rapid Ideation 

FIG 008. Prototyping 2   

FIG 009. Prototyping 3

FIG 010. Hardware Sketches 1

FIG 011. Hardware Sketches 2

FIG 012: Human-Machine Interface Wireframe

FIG 012: Human-Machine Interface Wireframe


Coming up with the concept, visual language of the hardware, detailed plans for the operating software, and exact physical interaction moments, I needed to gather a team of experts to bring the ideas to life.

The power of the internet, cold messaging, and emailing gave me direct access to the global engineering and manufacturing community. After hundreds of failed attempts, I finally assembled my dream team - a group of passionate, generous, warm, and highly talented individuals who were excited to work with me.


Over the course of 4 months, I directed a team of 4 professionals across UX design, software development, electronic engineering, and manufacturing to prepare a feasible MVP. However, constraints such as budget, programming difficulties, long development lead times, and a host of supply chain hiccups twisted and altered many of my original design decisions.

I held my ground on the most important features and accepted compromises for negligible ones to create the first-generation BCR.

FIG 016: Enclosure Design


After days of battling time zone differences, long debugging Zoom calls, and back-and-forth messages at midnight with some of the most passionate human beings I've ever met, I realized the beauty of existing with a creative force like no other.

The synchrony was pure, and the curiosity was genuine, allowing us to push through this self-paced, crazy passion project. The team members, hailing from 4 different parts of the world, became good friends, and now we send cat memes to each other every day.


FIG 027: Evolution of Idea from Doodle to Machine


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Shashwath Santosh, Designer & Director, USA
Krithi Nalla, Creative Technologist, USA
Nithin Dony, Business Strategy, Canada

Sakib Yousef, Software Engineer, India
Athula Kumara, Electronic Engineer, Australia 
Catherine Yang, Factory Rep, China

Special Thanks To:

Ari Elefterin, Design Consultant, USA
Chintan Sawla

Bootstrapped Project Budget — 2000 USD
Project Timeline  — 8 Months (On-going)