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Faculty Candidate Seminar

Sensing and Feedback of Everyday Activities to Promote Environmentally Sustainable Behaviors

Jon FroehlichPh.D. Candidate and Microsoft Research Graduate FellowUniversity of Washington
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CSE Faculty Candidate Seminar
There is often a profound disconnect between our everyday behaviors and the effects those behaviors have on our health and the environment around us. My research focuses on the role of technology in bridging this disconnect—in particular, how technology can be used to effectively sense and visualize information about our own behaviors to promote awareness and enable positive behavior change. In this talk, I will provide an overview of my dissertation work on sensing and feedback systems for environmental behaviors, focusing on home resource consumption and personal transportation. These two domains account for a large percentage of an individual’s environmental footprint.

My work covers the entire spectrum of information flow: from sensing physical events, to intelligently interpreting and classifying this data, to building novel feedback interfaces that inform and motivate behavior. I will discuss the design and evaluation of UbiGreen, a mobile phone-based system that semi-automatically tracks personal transit behaviors such as bicycling or riding in a car, and feeds back this information continuously on the background of the mobile phone. I will also talk about HydroSense, which is the first water disaggregation system to automatically track water usage activities down to the fixture-level (e.g., upstairs shower vs. kitchen sink) from a single-point. Finally, I will discuss my current research on Reflect, a real-time ambient water usage feedback display for the home. Throughout the talk, I will interweave a design space of feedback technology that incorporates findings from behavioral and environmental psychology and human-computer interaction.

Jon Froehlich is a PhD candidate and Microsoft Research Graduate Fellow in Human Computer Interaction and Ubiquitous Computing at the University of Washington (UW), advised by Professors James Landay and Shwetak Patel. In 2010, he was selected as the UW College of Engineering Graduate Student Innovator of the Year. His research focuses on designing, building, and evaluating technology that addresses high-impact social problems such as environmental sustainability, personal health and well-being, and computer accessibility. His dissertation is on promoting sustainable behaviors through automated sensing and feedback technology, which has led to a number of top-tier publications including a UbiComp 2009 best paper nomination and a CHI 2010 best paper. His work on HydroSense, an advanced water sensing system, was recently licensed to Belkin International, Inc. Jon received his MS in Information and Computer Science from the University of California, Irvine where he was advised by Paul Dourish.

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