FinaBot - Financial Wellness Companion

Project Overview

In this group project, we wanted to build a ‘human’ computational agent extending on critical perspectives on post-humanism, algorithms and biases. As a result, we built FinaBot, a wellness financial companion, as a speculative design artifact to prompt critical reflections and discussions from our audience.

FinaBot has the following capabilities:

  • Embodied agent with anthropomorphic features such as human face, eyes that light up, hand that can lift up or down, and different sounds to express emotions
  • Conversational dialog to discuss whether user should be allowed to withdraw money for various spending needs, and visually show decisiont hrough granted or denied lights
  • Three curated interactions to experience different scenarios: 1) machines making decisions for humans, 2) humans forcefully override machine’s decision, and 3) machines yielding to human decisions

Through interactions with FinaBot, We wanted our audience to critically reflect on the following questions:

  • What is the value of algorithmic decision compared to *human judgement?
  • What factors impact human and non-human’s agency to act?
  • What are the social norms when interacting with non-humans / machines?
  • What information should or should not be used for financial decisions? What biases exist within them?

My Contributions

I designed the interaction flows and the curated scenarios to explore concepts from academic research. I also implemented the technical aspects of the prototype, such as coding logic for the Arduino device, and ensuring the components are incorporated correctly with the agent’s embodiment.


FinaBot was featured by University of Toronto Faculty of Information in their newsletter and Twitter.

Conversation Flow

Flow Diagram

Curated Scenarios

Technical Components

Powered by Arduino IoT Board with the following components:

  • LED lights
  • Piezo buzzer
  • Capacitive sensing
  • Servo motor

Evolution of Prototype