Market Street is bugged! And you are invited to listen in. EAVESDROP connects visitors to Market Street Prototyping Festival through the act of eavesdropping. Using microphones hidden inside the other prototypes, the project invites you to spy on your fellow visitor. EAVESDROP plays on the irresistible impulse to listen while raising questions about surveillance and privacy in the public realm. How do you feel while you secretly listen to the public lives of others? And how do you feel when you realize you are being listened to?

The urge to spy on your neighbors is universal. And so are concerns about the increasing level of surveillance in our country and around the world. EAVESDROP seeks to engage the community in discussions about privacy and surveillance in public space. Is it fair to record conversations taking place on a public street? Do you have a right to privacy? EAVESDROP brings transparency to the surveillance that already takes place in our cities. Each of us carries in our pocket a device capable of recording and transmitting our location, our conversations, and our most intimate Google searches. And yet, we rarely have conversations about what is private and what is not. By giving you the experience of listening and being listened to, EAVESDROP starts the conversation.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Design

We wanted Eavesdrop to have a clear brand in order to easily communicate our prototype idea. We used colors and imagery of old portraits of people using devices to illustrate the concept of Eavesdrop. A series of hexagons were used to form the structure of Eavesdrop. The hexagon form offered compartmentalization, allowing our technical devices to fit within each component.

Step 2: Technical

Cell phones were used to transmit sounds from the various prototypes to the Eavesdrop Hub.

There were (12) cell phones in total.

Six Phones at the Eavesdrop Hub

- Phones at the was hooked up to three speakers

Six Phones at each location of the Prototypes

- Each phone was outfitted with a microphone and an external battery

- Bugged locations also had signage to indicate that the prototype was being 'eavesdropped on'

Step 3: Building the Frames


-cordless power drill

-miter saw

-track saw

-Kreb pocket hole jig

-table saw


-2x3 whitewood lumber

-1/2 inch birch plywood

-2 1/2" pocket hole screws

-1" wood screws


-use the miter saw to cut 2x3 lumber at 60 degree angles at length to form the hexagonal frame

-connect joints with predrilled pocket joinery using the Kreb jig and fully assemble both sides of the frame

-cut out 9 inch 2x3 spacers and place aside

-use the track saw to cut plywood faces making sure to keep a 1/2" overlap from the outside of the frame

-fully assemble the frame with 9 inch spacers and attach the plywood faces with 1" wood screws

-cut 9 inch plywood panels to cover the side of the frame, miter at 60 degrees to create a finished joint

-paint and finish as desired

Step 4: Building the Faces

Each hexagon face was cut from a plywood structure and screwed onto the frame structure.

Wheat paste, wood color stains, and vinyl sticker graphics were applied on the faces.

Step 5: Enjoy Your Eavesdrop!

We thoroughly enjoyed designing and building Eavesdrop over the past year and we hope you get to build your own version of 'Eavesdrop'!

Eavesdrop was brought to you by UC Berkeley students studying Landscape Architecture.

Vince Agoe

Allison Ecker

David Koo

Derek Lazo

Yang Liu

Nick Lowery

Gino Orlando

Mark Wessels

Special Thanks to:

Joshua Gervertz

Benjamin Heim

And to the rest of our studio mates.

Be the First to Share


    • Trash to Treasure Contest

      Trash to Treasure Contest
    • Rope & String Speed Challenge

      Rope & String Speed Challenge
    • Wearables Contest

      Wearables Contest

    2 Discussions


    3 years ago

    This is a cool idea! I bet the community had a lot of fun with it :)