For the final project of Introduction to Physical Computing, The Weavers, which consists of Jenny, Megan, and Ghalya, was assigned to create an assistive device for a member of the Pittsburgh community. After being paired up, on October 30, The Weavers met up with Rivka Herbert, a CMU grad who lived 15 minutes away from campus. This meeting lasted for about an hour and a half and was held in her home to discuss her day to day life and the challenges she had in hopes that The Weavers could alleviate some of those hardships.


We planned to meet in Rivka’s home, and communicated through messages with her and with each other.

Breakdown of roles:

-one person talking (Megan)

-one person talking notes (Ghalya)

-one person doing both/ filling in the gaps (Jenny)


Idea questions:

  • What were your hobbies or passions growing up?
    • Why did you like doing these hobbies or things, what about them was enjoyable?
    • Do you still maintain these interests? How?
  • Can you show us around your house? What is your morning routine like?
  • Is there any part of the day that you look forward to?
    • Why do you look forward to this?
  • How do you socialize?
  • Ask about pets, family, etc.
  • Walk me through a typical day..
  • What is something you wish you had help with?
  • What is you least favorite thing?
  • What’s your favorite thing to do?

These are just some idea questions, just in case the conversation gets stuck. But basically,  our plan was to have a natural conversation and not make it feel like a strictly formal exchange.


Rivka showing us how she measures out her threads for her looms

One of Rivkas favorite looms.

Rivka’s skein and ball winder in action.

One iteration of the weaving process.

A large question we wanted to ask was what hobbies she is involved in. We found out here that she is an avid weaver, and from this point on most of the interview involved learning more about her weaving; what she liked, what she didn’t, and how we could possibly help. This is where going to her house came the most in handy; she got to personally show us most of the steps in the process, and even got to bring back a ball weaver to study.

Conversation started pretty naturally- Rebecca is a naturally outgoing person which made it easy to start talking in a way that didn’t feel forced or uncomfortable. We started with having a general conversation, and in the car ride we guided the conversation to cover the interview topics that we were interested in- so it felt more natural than a stereotypical interview.

We decided on making an automatic ball winder because it’s a part of her weaving process that’s very tedious and time consuming, and usually ends with her elbow hurting. Automatic ball winders are expensive, and don’t have all the features that she would like in one- so we plan on constructing one that measures distance, checks for knots, and winds.

Find a copy of our notes and annotated images here: Proj3 Interview


Going to Rebecca’s house was a very valuable experience; it’s one thing to be told that someone likes weaving, and another to see how her home and style of living is affected by her weaving. In the car, we did not pay as much attention when she said that she likes weaving, but in her home we saw evidence of how it was seeping into every aspect of her home and life; she had looms in each room, and different spaces dedicated to different parts of the process.

Afterwards, we were a little wary because Rebecca seemed to somewhat lead us towards the idea of making an automatic ball winder- however we also discussed other possible ideas, and the others didn’t seem like they would have as large of an impact, or they were too complex to create.

We feel as if our interview went really well, and there’s not much we would change for next time; the conversation went smoothly, seeing her home helped us tremendously, and we learned what we needed to. We think we could have asked more questions- not having to do with weaving- but overall we are all satisfied.