Michael Cao | Designing Wearables for a Secret Unit (DND)
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About This Project

This was a project to Understand the lived and work experiences of the people of this secret group within the Department of National Defense to inform design and implementation decisions for wearable technologies.


In conducting ethnographic immersions – embedding within a unit for weeks at a time in remote areas across the nation, my research was able to contextualize and make sense of the extreme and complex needs of people. In generating descriptive and story boarding content, in addition to micro journey maps for the design team, we cultivated concepts with iterative involvement of users. These concepts were then translated into hi-fi prototypes for “in-vivo” testing and assessment.


This was an unique research experience in which I was able to translate the intimate relationships I’ve formed with the users through fully immersing with their work up to 48 hrs at a time, into actionable insights to guide build.

About This Project

Immersive research project with secret DND unit to provide design recommendations for wearable technology

Defense, Research, Strategy, Wearables