Eric Hong ’23 on empathetic design and his indoor mapping tech solution for accessibility

Eric Hong is in his fourth year at the VPA School of Design majoring in Industrial & Interactive Design. He is a board member of the SU Industrial Designer Society of America. After a long process of figuring out all the avenues he could take to make the world a better place, he found a home in entrepreneurship. He says that his infatuation with creative design is rooted in his upbringing. He was taught to be compassionate and sympathetic, which as a result, he says developed his 6th sense to resolve issues. 

As a youth he always questioned recurring global issues and why there wasn’t enough being done to resolve these problems. Eric possessed an inquisitive nature that is assisting him in his endeavors with Industrial & Interactive Design. What separates him from most, is that Eric grew aware of the positive impact that the entrepreneur industry could have on worldwide issues at an early age. 

Hong’s creative drive stems from a problem or issue that comes to his attention. An issue that requires help or repair from a third party. In his own words, he says “I see problems as a fun challenge”. His bright outlook on issues across the globe has resulted in much of his success as a student and entrepreneur. 

Eric is also a part of the Inclusive Design & Intelligence ++ on campus where he can trade off ideas and constructive criticism with his peers. Recently, Eric and his team began brainstorming a navigation system for indoor spaces which would benefit newly arrived visitors at complex buildings. They plan to develop an indoor mapping service that is designed to help people ease their anxiety, by having a virtual indoor map that informs the user with useful information like, accessible paths, general directions, and crowd flow. It will help people prepare their daily activities before stepping out of their home, making them familiar with their new environment before they arrive. The service will provide a virtual interactive space that the user can move around in and an orthographic projection of the indoor space.

No issue is too broad for him to help in some way. His motto – “A way for average people to make a difference”.

Story by Zaccai Foundation Fellow Samba Soumare ’24; photo by the LaunchPad