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Jon Froehlich: "Making with a Social Purpose: Transforming STEM Learning Through Wearables"

STEAM Salon Series

Date: Tuesday, April 4th, 2:00 pm - 2:45 pm

Location: Engineering and Physical Sciences Library, Math (Kirwan) Building

Increasing youth participation and diversity in science, engineering, mathematics, and technology (STEM) is a key national priority. Since 2012, my collaborators and I have forged a cross-disciplinary research agenda exploring how wearables and e-textiles can be designed to promote and engage children in life-relevant, personally meaningful STEM learning experiences. In this talk, I will highlight two large NSF-funded research agendas: (i) the development and evaluation of Live Physiological Sensing and Visualization (LPSV) tools that integrate real-time on-body sensors and visual displays to enable new scientific investigations about the body (e.g., physiology, movement); and (ii) MakerWear, a modular wearable construction toolkit aimed at allowing young children (ages 5-10) to program, build, and use, their own interactive wearables. I'll describe the results of our field studies with over 200+ children in after-school programs and elementary schools, key successes and challenges, and important areas for future work.

Jon Froehlich is an Assistant Professor in Human-Computer Interaction within the Department of Computer Science at the University of Maryland, College Park. His research focuses on designing, building, and evaluating interactive technology that addresses high value social issues such as environmental sustainability, computer accessibility, and personal health and wellness.

Jon earned his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Washington (UW) in 2011 where he was a Microsoft Research Graduate Fellow, the winner of the 2009 UW Environmental Innovation Challenge, and the 2010 UW College of Engineering Research Innovator of the Year. His PhD dissertation entitled Sensing and Feedback of Everyday Activities to Promote Environmental Behaviors won numerous awards including the UW Graduate School Distinguished Dissertation Award and an honorable mention for the 2012 Council of Graduate Schools Distinguished Dissertation Award in Mathematics, Physical Sciences, and Engineering. As part of his PhD work, Jon co-invented HydroSense—a non-intrusive water usage sensing system that identifies individual water activities (e.g., dishwasher use, toilet flush, shower) from a single sensing point. This system was licensed to Belkin, Inc. where it's being developed under the name “Echo Water.”

Jon has over 30 scientific peer-reviewed publications in many top venues including CHI, UbiComp, IJCAI, MobiSys and ICSE garnering two best paper awards and three best paper nominations. Jon is a member of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory (HCIL), the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS), and a co-founder of the HCIL Hackerspace and the HCIL lablet: the Makeability Lab. He was recently named the Sloan Foundation fellow for 2017 and received the 2017 NSF Faculty Early Career Development award

The presentation is available on the UMD Libraries Twitter account.