Getting Started with Sensor Data

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May 2, 2017, 11:00am–12:30pm PDT
Free online event, pre-registration & EPIC Membership required, max 50 participants


Activity trackers, instrumented environments, and other kinds of monitors offer new possibilities and new challenges for ethnographic research. They provide a trace of what goes on when the researcher isn’t there, but can be challenging to set up, and occasionally misleading if the context is poorly understood. Dawn Nafus and Rajiv Mehta are two researchers who have experience with using sensors in ethnographic research, sometimes successfully and sometimes less so. They’ll talk about when it makes sense to try to use sensors at all, what pitfalls to watch out for, when you do and don’t need the help of a data wrangler, and some of the trickier aspects of inviting participants to reflect on the data collected about them. This will be an interactive forum, so come with questions, dilemmas, or just your curiosity.


DAWN NAFUS is a Senior Research Scientist at Intel Corporation, where she conducts anthropological research for new product innovation. Her ethnographic research has been primarily on experiences of time, data literacy, self-tracking and wearables. Most recently, she has been working on instrumentation and data interpretation for community-based environmental health projects. Her work takes place in the US and Europe. She is the editor of Quantified: Biosensing Technologies in Everyday Life and co-author of Self-Tracking. She holds a PhD from University of Cambridge.

RAJIV MEHTA leads nonprofit Atlas of Caregiving, which is pioneering research about family caregiving, combining ethnography with the latest sensor and data technologies to develop actionable insights and practical tools to make caregiving easier and more effective. He has led research on family caregiving and consumer health, advised healthcare organizations and technology companies, and developed consumer health products. He is on the board of the Family Caregiver Alliance, and co-organizer of Quantified Self. Prior to his focus on health, Rajiv led innovation efforts at Apple, Motorola, and other technology companies, and research at NASA. He studied engineering at Princeton (BS) and Stanford (MS), and business at Columbia (MBA).

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EPIC Talks is a webinar series created by our community, for our community. Talks cover topics that are highly relevant to us as practitioners, introducing methods, technologies, ideas, and best practices that make our work better and foster meaningful professional connections. Formats can range from lectures or seminars to panels, discussions, and debates. EPIC Talks are proposed and created by EPIC members, bringing together a global community on the leading edge of ethnography in business.