Julius Tarng

I design products and experiences.
Holistic, cohesive design expertise – from interaction to UI to code.

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Project Modai
Humanizing mobile devices.
Current mobile devices are chunks of metal and plastic that end up in a landfill.
Users have no emotional bond with their phones.
Thus, the average lifespan is 18 months.

Just a tool

Modern phones are easily-replaced. Relationships are simply utilitarian and monetary.

Meaningless interaction

Humans adapt themselves to use electronics, making the relationship unnatural and sterile.

Technological advances

Technology advances at an exponential rate. Mobile phones become obsolete especially fast.

How can we lengthen and enhance the relationship between user and device?

Trusting bond

An emotional connection that turns the device from a tool into a trusted companion.

Human interactions

New ways to use your device, inspired by human behavior.

Sustainable ecosystem

Scrap the planned obsolescence model and plan for upgrades.

Your mobile companion: inspired by human behaviors, designed to last physically and emotionally.

Create a trusting bond to forge a meaningful relationship.


Modai's social (Fundai) and work (Prodai) paradigms help users balance work and play.

By sorting incoming content into the respective screens, Modai helps users focus on what's important.

Like Superman

Switching between Fundai and Prodai is like Superman and Clark Kent. Simply zip up Prodai to put on your "work clothes".


Not the blue ones. The avatar is a visual representation of the device's status. It deepens the emotional bond by giving Modai a face to relate to.

Modai's avatar can represent anything from the paradigm you're in, to the battery status, and even the current volume.

Contextual prompts

Modai knows where you are and what you are doing, and prompts you with helpful suggestions, whether that's the bus schedule, the lunch specials, or your project deadline.

Day & Night

Modai only displays content relevant to your situation. For example, it greets you in the morning and shows you the day's weather widget. At night, the visuals change and since the day is over, it no longer shows you the weather.

Behavior learning

Modai is smart and learns your behaviors. If it detects you often oversleep or are late to your meetings (via GPS), it adjusts your alarms accordingly.

Enforce emotional connections by humanizing the interactions.


The muscle-wire mebedded Santoprene Peelstand enables Modai to move on its own. This enables many opportunities for human interaction and for Modai to express its status.


Muscle wire            

Wake up!

Throughout the night, Modai slowly "wakes up" with the Peelstand. It sounds the alarm at its apex, which you can snooze by pushing Modai back down.

Gentle notification

With a slight peel, Modai can signal an incoming call or text without disturbing your meeting. In your pocket, the peeling gently prods you in the leg.


Modai draws its interactions from human behaviors. For example, silencing the phone is as simple as putting your finger to the earpiece.

Feed me!

Modai's mouth-inspired charge port magnetically opens when the battery is low. The avatar also echoes the device's hunger for electricity. Plugging the charger in fills Modai up, leaving the avatar with a happy face.

Enable a long device lifespan through ecosystem.

Modular internals

Peel the Peelstand all the way to lift out the modular internal pack. You can replace or upgrade any of these internals to prevent obsolescence but keep the same phone.

Upgradable hardware

From batteries to the camera, from the RAM to the CPU, most internals that evolve quickly can be upgraded.

A sustainable ecosystem

Modai employs an ecosystem that allows you to return your old module for disposal or resale after you buy a new one.

Project Modai is an exploration into what could be, and how, with new technologies, we can begin to think of our devices as more than a tool, but a friend.

Featured on Core77 and frog design's designmind, among many others.