IoT Sensor System for Forest Fire Detection; Implementation of a Free College System in the United States

Gupta, Shreejan, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
JACQUES, RICHARD, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Powell, Harry, EN-Elec/Computer Engr Dept, University of Virginia
Basit, Nada, University of Virginia

In the past decade we have witnessed numerous large-scale phishing attacks across the globe causing massive disruptions. A few notable phishing scams are as follows: Sony Pictures (2014), Google and Facebook (2013-2015), The Ukrainian Power Grid Attack (2015), Ubiquiti Networks (2015), and Upsher-Smith Laboratories (2016). For each of the attacks listed above, the damages ranged from 50 million to more than 100 millions dollars (Daly, 2017). As an Information Security Operations Intern at the University, I witness various types of phishing attempts sent to students and faculty on a daily basis. Knowledgeable about how dangerous these attacks can be, I wanted to explore the possibility of integrating a tool within the UVa email system to automatically decipher emails for malicious and delete the message before they are delivered to the user’s inbox. Stepping outside the digital world and phishing attacks, we have also witnessed an increase in the number of widespread and dangerous forest fires and wildfires in the past decade. Current implementation of satellite systems to detect such fires have limitations leading to failure in the detection of crucial information such as fire speed and air quality (Alkhatib, 2017). Therefore, my capstone team explored the implementation of a fire detection system with an integration of new technologies to better detect and monitor hazardous conditions and provide adequate information to first responders to ensure proper incident response. The drastic rise in wildfires in recent years in the United States has sparked large debate about climate change and its effects on humans and the greater society; however, the debate about the implementation of a free college system is also on the spotlight. For my research paper, I decided to explore the viability for the implementation of a nationwide free higher education (colleges, universities) in the United States and provided suggestions based on the technical, case, and STS analysis conducted. The three topics are vastly different from each other; however, each explores the possibility of a better future by solving a problem that is getting worse with time’s passing. Furthermore, each writing includes crucial frameworks surrounding scientific, technological, and societal values, such as the concept of unintended consequences along the different values of users and non-users, to further complement the discussions presented in each writing.

The technical portions of my thesis set the foundation for combining STS frameworks within a technical research question. Throughout the research phase for the implementation of the phishing tool and the construction of the IoT sensor system, it became apparent that there are unintended consequences with the use of a highly connected device. With the phishing tool, the issue of user privacy and data collection was uncovered as focal points while the environmental concerns surrounding the disposal of the sensor system was one of the biggest factors to consider for the capstone project. Furthermore, both devices would see early adopters who would choose to use the devices along with non-users who would choose to avoid them. The concept of users and non-users is an important STS framework to consider when working on engineering problems and thus was heavily developed within both projects.

In my STS research, I learned there are many lenses for which an individual can look into a problem in order to derive a viable solution. By looking at the arguments for supporting and opposing sides for the call for a free college system in the United States, it became clear that analyzing the debate using different frameworks proved fundamental to undercover key components in the arguments for both sides. For example, by comparing the ranking of the education of some European countries that call home for free higher education for its citizens, it can be seen that they have a higher burden in taxes and cost of living; however, by analyzing the societal and technical values of the free college system through concepts such as unintended consequences and users (supporter) and non-users (opposer) of the system, the decision narrowed down to which values each countries favor more than the others. This concept was thoroughly explored with a detailed case analysis along in order to develop some suggestions regarding the situation which can be found in the complete paper.

The portfolio as a whole provides a good explanation for the importance of STS and its frameworks when exploring the different problems and solutions. All topics explored in the writings have a great impact on issues surrounding current and future events that have the potential to better the lives of many.

Alkhatib, A. A. A. (2017, December 20). Forest Fire Monitoring | IntechOpen.

Daly, A. (2017). 5 of the Biggest Phishing Scams of All Time. Inky.Com.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
IoT Sensor System, Free College, Unintended consequences, Users vs. Non-users, Phishing

School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering
Technical Advisor: harry Powell
Technical Advisor: Nada Basit
STS Advisor: Richard Jacques
Technical Team Members: Nathan Do, Tahmid Kazi, Alec Ross, Bill Yang

Issued Date: