Please join the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering for an invited guest lecture by Dr. Jon Froehlich.
Making with a Social Purpose
The goal of Dr. Froehlich's research is to develop interactive tools and techniques that address pressing global challenges—so-called ‘wicked’ problems—in areas such as environmental sustainability, accessibility, and education. In this talk, he will describe two major threads of research in accessibility and STEM learning, both of which involve inventing or reappropriating methods to sense physical phenomena, leveraging emerging computational techniques for signal processing and interpretation, and exploring new interactive tools uniquely enabled by these approaches. The first thread examines how to make the physical world more accessible for people with disabilities. For example, Project Sidewalk (projectsidewalk.io) combines crowdsourcing, computer vision, and machine learning to semi-automatically identify street-level accessibility problems using online map imagery. The second thread explores how wearables and e-textiles can be designed to promote and engage children in life-relevant, personally meaningful STEM learning experiences. In the MakerWear project, for example, Froehlich and his team designed a novel construction toolkit that enables young children (ages 5-10) not only to design and build their own interactive e-textiles but to use them in their own creative play and beyond (e.g., sports, dance). For both threads, he will discuss example projects, describe key contributions, and highlight future work.
About Jon Froehlich
Dr. Jon Froehlich is an Assistant Professor in Computer Science at the University of Maryland (UMD), a Sloan Fellow, and an NSF CAREER awardee. He directs the Makeability Lab, whose mission is to design, build, and study interactive tools and techniques that address pressing societal problems related to health, environmental sustainability, education, and accessibility. Jon has published over 50 peer-reviewed publications—ten have been honored with awards, including Best Papers at ACM CHI and ASSETS. His PhD research, which explored new sensing and visualization systems for environmental sustainability, was patented, licensed, and commercialized by Belkin, Inc. and honored with the University of Washington Graduate School Distinguished Dissertation Award, the CSE William Chan Memorial Dissertation Award, and received a Council of Graduate Schools Distinguished Dissertation Honorable Mention. At UMD, Jon is a member of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory (HCIL)—one of the oldest HCI labs in the world, the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS), and is the founder of the HCIL Hackerspace.