Dean’s Lecture Series: Technology for the Vulnerable – Studies in Designing for Access to Basic Needs

Event Start Date: Wednesday, March 16, 2022 - 12:00 pm

Event End Date: Wednesday, March 16, 2022 - 1:00 pm

Location: Virtual

Speaker: Dr. Ronald Metoyer

The divide between the “haves” and “have-nots” in today’s society is greater than ever and one could argue that technology is largely developed in service to the “haves” where there is a clear financial incentive.  There is simply little money to be made from vulnerable populations (e.g., economically disadvantaged, homeless, elderly) that largely make up the “have nots”.  Nonetheless, many computational technological innovations can play an important role in serving those in need.

In this talk, I will present two case studies of the application of technology in service to some of our most vulnerable in society.  In the CARENet project, we engaged with stakeholders in the social services realm to understand barriers to access and to design and develop prototype technology in support of improved access.  Most recently, we’ve launched the Food Information Networks (FINs) project that aims to address food “inequity” by facilitating physical access to food as well as access to the information necessary to make informed healthy food choices.  Through these projects, I’ll illustrate our highly interdisciplinary approach to design and development, and I’ll highlight some of the insights uncovered and what they mean for design in this context.

Ronald Metoyer is a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering and Associate Dean for Diversity and Faculty Development in the College of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame.  He earned his B.S. in Computer Science and Engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles (1994) and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology (2002), where he was a member of the Graphics, Visualization, and Usability (GVU) Center.  Ron’s primary research interest is in human-computer interaction with a particular emphasis on the subfield of information visualization.  His work focuses on multivariate data visualization,  decision making, and narrative visualizations.  He has published over 65 papers and is the recipient of a 2002 NSF CAREER Award.  Ron has been involved in broadening participation in computing activities throughout his career. He has served in several roles including multiple years on the program committee of the Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference, as a project leader for CMD-IT, and most recently as a steering committee member for

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