Tam, Andrew, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Rogers, Hannah, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Ghosh, Avik, EN-Elec/Computer Engr Dept, University of Virginia

In all leisure activities, there exists varying barriers that can prevent an individual from deciding whether or not to actively participate. However, with the rise of smart technologies entering into their respective markets, these barriers become less of an obstacle to the wider population. The focus of this thesis will explore how technologies of varying leisure can influence an increase in participation among individuals. The research paper deliverable of the thesis investigates the general scope of this question while providing existing technologies as examples. The technical deliverable explores cooking as a leisure activity and designs a technology suited for solving its corresponding barriers. Together, the two components help provide an explanation for the research question by providing not only a solution applicable for cooking but also existing technologies that solve challenges of other leisure activities.
The technical deliverable of the thesis focuses on creating a piece of technology that assists the user in the kitchen. Pantastic is a kitchen safety device that uses temperature sensing technology to measure the ambient temperature of kitchen appliances. In the event that kitchen appliances are left on accidentally, the device will issue an alarm to notify the user and surrounding agents that the appliance has reached an unsafe temperature for an extended period of time. This project was chosen to solve time as a barrier that hinders individuals from partaking in cooking. The time wasted observing a cooking pot boiling or roasting food were examples of the core issues of time as a barrier for individuals cooking. Through the research and design of the project, reducing the time wasted during cooking was drafted as the solution to promoting cooking as a leisure activity. Thus, the web application project component would allow the user to monitor their cooking environment and reduce the amount of time wasted tending to cooking.
The research paper deliverable of the thesis provides supplemental evidence of existing technologies that reduce barriers to various activities. Using the Actor Network Theory framework, activities such as fitness, live streaming, and digital drawing were analyzed to understand how introducing technological solutions can promote popularity of the respective activity by alleviating core obstacles that reduce participation. The technological artifacts, or non-human actors were analyzed to understand how the interaction with the human actors could help promote an increase in participation among individuals considering the respective leisure. An interesting finding through the research literature suggests that the solution introduced by these technologies influence users of the technology to actively participate by easing the barriers that exist.
From designing and engineering a technological solution to my research question and researching other existing technological solutions, my understanding of how the interactions between non-human and human actors inspires innovation, resulting in increased popularity for leisure activity. The opportunity to engineer a project that provides both a solution to a current problem of cooking and a specific model that investigates the research question has been incredibly insightful. With this research and technical project, future implementations and extensions may result in the flourishing of technology and leisure engagement.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Actor-Network Theory, Leisure Activity, Accessibility, Cooking, Smart Sensors

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering
Technical Advisor: Avik Ghosh
STS Advisor: Hannah Rogers
Technical Team Members: Thomas Forrester, Tyler Hendricks, Kai Wong, Noal Zyglowicz

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