Cost Effective Solar Powered Fan; Assigning Blame for the Cambridge Analytica Controversy

Lin, Hsing Chun, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Laugelli, Benjamin, Science, Technology & Society, University of Virginia
Powell, Harry, Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Virginia

The intersection of my technical and STS research lies in the impacts that technology can have on society; my technical research demonstrates how technology can be used to impact society in a beneficial way whereas my STS research focuses on how technology can be used for malicious operations. My technical research involves the creation of a cost efficient solar powered fan that can help those who are energy impoverished, which means they don’t have access to affordable cooling/heating systems, and those who are struggling to pay their electric bills. For the STS research component, I argue that Cambridge Analytica and Facebook made conscious decisions that led to the misuse of millions of users’ information so they are to blame for the exploitation of data to create psychologically manipulative ads rather than the users who took a survey that allowed Cambridge Analytica to collect information. Both research topics illuminate how technology can be used to impact people’s lives. My capstone group built a solar powered fan that is a low cost supplement to expensive traditional cooling methods. Many people in the United States are energy impoverished which means they don’t have access to affordable cooling and heating. We tried to ameliorate their problem by creating a fan that utilizes solar energy to charge and run the fan so that users don’t have to pay for energy-intensive air conditioning. To create the technical product we designed the circuit board, soldered the components onto the board, 3D printed the fan blade, and assembled the enclosure for the circuit board and the fan.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
solar powered fan, Cambridge Analytica, data breach

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering
Technical Advisor: Harry Powell
STS Advisor: Benjamin Laugelli
Technical Team Members: Thu Tran, Kelsi Loudenslager

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