Automated Ring Light; Responding to Appearance Bias in the Workplace

Fasano, Sophia, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Norton, Peter, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Powell, Harry, EN-Elec/Computer Engr Dept, University of Virginia

Appearance bias greatly affects individuals in the workplace, even when working from home. Thus, it is in an employee’s best interest to take steps to protect themself from appearance bias’s effects and to combat appearance bias in the workplace.

The Automated Ring Light is a device for providing direct illumination to the user’s face as they move about their workstation. Mounted on the primary monitor, it will track the user’s movements via a sensor on a headset and move left and right and rotate as needed to keep the ring light directly focused on the user from any angle they work at. In the age of video conferencing and the prevalence of appearance-based judgements in the workplace, this device aims to present the user at their best to co-workers, clients, and managers.

Appearance-based discrimination affects all aspects of the workplace from hiring to pay to perceived ability. Those affected by appearance bias attempt to utilize laws, litigation, and social movements to combat appearance bias in the workplace. Some businesses enforce policies that enforce appearance bias in the workplace to protect their public image. Understanding how and why each group attempts to influence appearance bias in the workplace demonstrates that by changing societies biases may allow for more acceptance in the workplace.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Automation, Appearance Bias, Sexism, Workplace Environment

School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering

Technical Advisor: Harry Powell

STS Advisor: Peter Norton

Technical Team Members: Daniel Knorr, Charles Ferraro, Ethan Staten

Issued Date: