Furry Flyers  |  Concept design


American Airlines and Wearable World sponsored a 24-hr hackathon centered around "the connected traveler". The event took place in the tech epicenter San Francisco on June 2014. I lead our team of 4 in design and strategy, building a smart system using multiple APIs to connect the traveler with his/her pet when traveling by air. We placed in the Top 3, advancing to the first ever in-flight wearable hackathon.


Create a proof-of-concept around a product or service that is related to the theme "The Connected Traveler".


As a pet owner, often times it can be scary flying with pets due to the unknown factors of what happens after you check in your pet with the airline. Pets can mean just as much to pet owners as any family member. So, we created Furry Flyers - a smart system that helps connect an owner with his/her furry friend while traveling.



1st round, Proof-of-Concept - Top 3

2nd round, In-flight Testing - Top 4


iOS, Estimote Beacon, Pebble Watch, MasterCard, Weather Underground, SFO terminal map



making flying with pets less scary

During the 24 hour hackathon development period, I interviewed pet owners present at the event in addition to American Airlines representatives about their pet travel experiences. These components were designed to alleviate their biggest pain points and to accommodate user needs in tracking their pets.

1. Location - Users found it comforting to see that the pet is on its intended way in real time. This also allows for pet owners to send unsupervised pets via air and track the pet's journey in real time. The pet wears a tag containing a GPS-enabled beacon.

2. Crate environment - This allows pet owners to monitor the ambient temperature inside the crate. Environments that break outside of the regulated temperature range may be hazardous. The colors on this screen will change along with temperature fluctuations as a visual cue.

3. Weather - This feature allows users to plan ahead for a trip by checking the weather within the duration of the trip to make sure temperatures will be manageable in air and on ground. This feature is also meant to boost safety.

4. Pre-boarding documentation - The checklist is to help pet owners see required documentations and obtain them before boarding day. Some documents, such as veterinary records, require time to prepare. This checklist will help pet owners save time and prevent last minute hiccups.


the Presented DESIGN

This is the homepage of the Furry Flyers app. After researching the biggest concerns of flying with pets, we found that these categories were the biggest priorities among pet owners.

There are two features hiding underneath the fold. The first is for detecting crate temperature. The second is for an American Airlines and Mastercard API integrated pet store in which pet owners can purchase required equipment, such as approved crates, ahead of time in order to provide convenience while speeding up the process.


DESIGN reboot

In the second round of the hackathon, I re-designed the user interface to make better use of the small screen real-estate .  The design features a touch dial navigation for a quick and easy one-swipe motion in conjunction with a slider to view more details, such as a health conditions and instructions page in addition to the shown pet profile page.

Users also voiced a need for notifications when the state of their pet changes. This is displayed at the top right where the bell icon lives. The moment the sensors pick up irregular data, the pet owner will be notified in addition to any automatic messages generated by our system such as change in trip schedule or reminder for pre-boarding paper work.

The hamburger menu was included to host any features not listed on the dial nav such as sign-out or to switch to a different pet's account.



This is a demo of the Furry Flyers app in real time. The app is connected to a beacon which detects movement, temperature, and GPS location. Other apis, such as Weather Underground, Pebble watch, and Mastercard, is integrated with certain features.



Furry Flyers created a rough recorded simulation of how the app and smart crate would be used in context. This was shown during our 3-minute pitch in-front of the judges panel.

Our engineer miraculously whipped up working code in under 24 hours connecting notifications from our app to the Pebble watch. We wanted to show how this would work in real time.

We were also playing around with the idea of using VR to hologram call  the stressed pet whenever the pet owner gets a notification that abnormal behavior has been detected. Ultimately, we stripped this from the second round of in-fight testing to focus on the core (and most feasible) features on the phone app. 

Special thanks to one of the judges who let us borrow his dog Ramona for the demo. Also, special thanks to a WeatherUnderground sponsor for loaning us her crate on a day's notice.


we placed top 3!

Here's the team posing with the amazing actress Ramona and our prize!