skip to main content

2017 STS Making and Doing Program

Meeting Home | Making & Doing Main | Making and Doing 2017 | Category: Open

Emotional Interpretation & Materiality of Biosensing

Howell, Noura, School of Information, UC Berkeley

Biosensory data is being linked with emotion, with claims that particular data patterns indicate discrete categories of universal fundamental emotions. Drawing from such claims, many approaches in affective computing and consumer biosensing devices foreground machine-driven emotional interpretation or categorization, which neglects the socioculturally embedded, emergent, and performative nature of emotion. In contrast, my design research seeks to foreground biosensing’s entanglements with self and others, body and environment, and support human-driven emotional interpretation from within this apparatus. Drawing from approaches such as critical technical practice and critical making, I probe alternative relations and reconfigurations involving humans and biosensing technology. For the Making & Doing session, I would like to show some material artifacts, as a complement to my presentation in the panel Sensing Subjectivities: Biosensing and Human/Machine Entanglements. I design ambiguous displays made of “unstable” materials, such as thermochromic fabric clothing. This material is unstable as a biosensing display in the sense that it changes color both in response to the biosensory data of the wearer and in response to environmental temperature. While leveraging ambiguity is a known design tactic for supporting open-ended reflection, and these projects have contributed reflections around ambiguity for biosensing displays at other venues, here I would like to reflect on the materiality of biosensory data/display. Specific to these designs, how do sensing on skin and displaying on clothing enact or breach agential cuts between self, body, clothing, and environment? More broadly, how can unstable materials help shift designs away from biosensing displays as representationalist toward biosensing displays as performative?

  • LinkedIn

Browse 2017 Projects

Alac: STS Olfactorium

Battles: The Trial Balloon: buoyancy, embodied media, and patchy planetarity

Callahan: Rethinking Citizen Science through doing Citizen Science

Cardoso Llach: Tracing Design Ecologies

Clement: Snowden Surveillance Archive

Cohen: Toward Improving Public Policy for Struct Engrg Design of Bridge, Transport & Marine Infrastructure

Durnova: Politicizing the scientific self through media interventions

Erickson-Davis: What it is to see: a simulation of artificial vision

Gluzman: Feminist Theory Theater

Gomez-Marquez: Construction Sets for DIY Medical Technologies and their Black Box Counterparts

Hidalgo: Collaborative Research Toolkit: a copyleft resource for the co-design of research processes

Hoagland: Getting a Sense of the Place: Navigating FemTechNet’s Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Workbook

Houston: Collaborative urban sensing with the “Dustbox” air quality monitor

Howell: Emotional Interpretation & Materiality of Biosensing

Johnson: Engineering Comes Home: Co-designing local infrastructure with residents of a London housing estate

Kennedy: Doing STS at the science/policy intersection

Knopes: Integrating STS into Bioethics and Medical Humanities Programs

Lachney: Generative STEM: Circulating Unalienated Value in Education, Labor and Environment

Lawson: (T)racing Eyes and Hearts:  An Installation to Explore the Physiology of Empathy

Lehr: Undergraduate STSers Learn by Doing in the Trump Era

Lippman: Making Sensible in 360°

Michails: AirTRACS: Community-based Air Quality Monitoring

Mogul: A STS STEM Education Incubator: The Co-Making of Inquiry

Mohsin: QEERI’s Science Majlis

Murphy: Environmental Data and Governance Initiative: Engaged STS Responding to the U.S.Administration

Nafus: Data Sense

Navarro: Our Driverless Futures: Speculating Moral Dilemmas of Self-Driving Cars

Nieusma: STS Design and Innovation: Disciplinary Discomfiture

Onaga: Biomaterial Matters: Fitting Humans into Cocoons, A Speculative Prototype

Ostman: STS approaches to public engagement with science: Synthetic biology

Ostrowski: The Empirical Printing Program

Perez Comisso: Technological theory for all: Teaching experiments on STS in Chile

Rosado Murillo: Pedal Transcriba, an Ethnographic Device of (and for) Qualitative Research

Shapiro: Detoxifying the environment across temporalities

Steensen: Face-off! Platform versus Self: A photobooth experiment

Stern: Zika and Feminist STS: Building a Network, Doing Collective Scholarship

Taylor: Connecting-Probing-Reflecting Spaces: The New England Workshop on Science and Social Change (NewSSC)

Terrell: The making of an undergraduate Sociotechnical Ethics Society

Wentworth: Handholds: making sense of bodies through slaughter

Wong: Design Workbook Variations: Exploring Biosensing Privacy Futures

Wylie: Making and Doing STS with Undergraduate Engineers: The UVA Approach