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Sarah Fox (UC San Diego Design Lab)

Wednesday, March 6, 2019 at 4:00 P.M.
Computer Science and Engineering Building (CSE) 1202 on the UCSD campus


Looking Out from the Stall: Hygiene Resources, Maintenance, and the Internet of Things

Although menstruation may appear far from the contemporary sites of innovation, emerging internet of things (IoT) technologies increasingly define people’s experiences around hygiene resources. In this talk, Sarah Fox will describe her collaboration with local activists and custodial staff to develop and deploy a networked sensor designed to support the needs of people without regular access to everyday hygiene resources. Studying this development, she reveals the ways municipal and corporate actors use IoT devices to carry forward managerial concerns for cost-reducing efficiencies and regulatory techniques. This work highlights how digital technologies entwine with existing forms of collaborative labor to sharpen managerial control around public restroom access and maintenance, a concern of increasing importance as information scholarship attends to computer-mediated collaboration in public life.


Sarah Fox is a Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of California, San Diego in the Department of Communication and The Design Lab. Her research investigates how technological artifacts challenge or propagate social exclusions, through the examination of existing systems and the development of alternatives. Her work has earned awards in leading computing venues including ACM CSCW, CHI, and DIS, and has been featured in the Journal of Peer Production and New Media and Society. She holds a Ph.D. in Human Centered Design & Engineering from the University of Washington and has worked in design research at Microsoft Research, Google, and Intel Labs.

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