eaton hero image

My Role

  • User Research Lead
  • Interaction Design


  • Contextual Interviews
  • Guided Storytelling
  • Touchstone Tours
  • Business Origami
  • Affinity Diagramming
  • Cultural Diagrams
  • Customer Journey Maps




  • 8 months
  • Jan - Aug 2014

About SEER and the Eaton Capstone

Seer is an iPad based remote monitoring system for switchgear I designed with three teammates for our capstone project at Carnegie Melon University. Switchgear are essentially the large gray boxes that manage power supplies going into buildings. We partnered with Eaton Corporation, a Switchgear manufacturer, to envision and design the future of switchgear-human interaction.

Check out our team's project page.

SEER: A Mobile Monitoring and Troubleshooting Tool

SEER provides value to customers by allowing them to:

  • Predict problems with switchgear and fix them preemptively.
  • Get actionable information from switchgear data.
  • Stay safe by reducing the need to come in physical contact with switchgear.
  • Access the monitoring system remotely



We interviewed 33 domain experts. And toured 4 university and hospital basements to see the switchgears and ask questions as we toured.


We synthesized over 600 notes from our field research into one affinity diagram, two customer journey maps, and four cultural diagrams. As a final step in our synthesis, we connected our high level findings to create a story.

Key Findings

  • The data already being collected from Switchgear metering systems has potential to be more valuable.
  • Relationships and people are at the core of the switchgear industry.
  • Switchgear operators work in both mentally and physically exhausting environments.
  • Trends with switchgear operators are leading to software opportunities in the mobile space.


We spent a lot of time visioning and coming up with exciting ideas that included wearables, google glass, augmented reality, etc. In the end, we decided to pursue a less flashy, and more valuable solution.

Our goal is to bring value to all of the data that facilities collect with smart notifications, and recommendations.

We're making the assumption that in the future, sensors are going to be more pervasive and reliable, and the "internet of things" very real. We explored how all of these sensors can be used to give power operations people valuable notifications.

Pictured above is our switchgear story. It highlights that in the coming years, switchgear operators are going to interact with the gear less and less.


We started prototyping with lo-fidelity paper prototypes and worked our way up to clickable prototypes.

Lo-fidelity paper prototypes:

Mid- to hi-fidelity interactive prototypes:

Usability Testing

We met with at least 5 users during every iteration to test our designs.

Final Steps

We presented our concept to our Eaton clients who were very excited about our ideas in August 2014. At that time, we delivered our prototype and research and design book to them.

Below is Team Lumin.

prev / next

back to projects