Biowearable Critical Making Workshop

Project Overview

Keywords: Design ethics; teaching ethics; critical making; critical reflection; biowearables; ethics; youth; unintended consequences; quantification of self; online maker workshop; online learning.

The goal of this project is to reach an understanding of the complex relations between ethics, social impact, and values related to the interactions between biowearables and children. Children are increasingly becoming sensed, tracked, and augmented with technologies known as biowearbles. Their biodata will be fed into apps that will impact their sense of self, who they turn to for authority about themselves, and even their physiology. Therefore, in this project we explore the ethical and social implications of these emerging technologies. 


The first phase of this project involved describing the potential ethical issues of biowearables on children’s identity formation, the development of autonomy and agency, and what sources of information children turn to for authority about themselves. We then designed a framework in which to scaffold critical reflection on ethical issues in a making workshop for youth. We designed and developed two artifacts to help scaffold reflection: a breathing biowearable-tangible kit and a set of critical reflection cards. We conducted multiple design iterations of these artifacts, which were designed for an in-person working at SFU Library’s Media and Maker Commons. With the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to pivot to an online format that was conducted with an Atlantic-Canada industry partner, Brilliant Labs. So far, our pilot study has shown promising results for our framework and biowearable kit in an online distributed learning setting with youth.


Alissa N. Antle, Project, Research and Design Lead

Yumiko Murai, Project Co-Lead and Education Lead

Alisha Collins, Creativity Catalyst Brilliant Labs

Jeff Wilson, Brilliant Labs Executive Director

Natacha Vautour, Brilliant Labs Special Projects

Josh Keys, Brilliant Labs Innovation Engineer

Amanda Sherman, Purchasing Coordinator

Alex Kitson, Design Co-Lead

Azadeh Adibi, Research Assistant

Yves Candau, Research Assistant

Katrien Jacobs, Research Assistant

Zoe Dao-Kroeker, Undergraduate Research Assistant


Alissa N. Antle and Alexandra Kitson. 1,2,3,4 Tell me how to grow more: A position paper on children, design ethics and biowearables. International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction, Special Issue on Ethics, Elsevier, (forthcoming) View pre-print here.

Alissa N. Antle. Looking ethically forward: Shaping the future of smart wearables for children. 2021. In Brygg Ullmer, Orit Shaer, Ali Mazalek, and Caroline Hummels (eds.) Weaving Fire into Form: Aspirations for Tangible and Embodied Interaction, ACM Press, (forthcoming, email to request post-print).

Alissa N. Antle, Alexandra Kitson, Yumiko Murai, Azadeh Adibi, Yves Candau, John Desnoyers-Stewart, Katrien Jacobs and Zoe Dao-Kroeker. Scaffolding reflection on potential ethical impacts of biowearables in a critical making workshop for youth. In Proceedings of FabLearn Europe Conference (FabLearn ’21), (in press) View post-print here.

Yumiko Murai, Alissa N. Antle, Alexandra Kitson, Azadeh Adibi, Yves Candau, John Desnoyers-Stewart, Katrien Jacobs and Zoe Dao-Kroeker. Scaffolding online distributed critical making: lessons learned. Proceedings of FabLearn Europe Conference (FabLearn ’21), (in press). View post-print here.

Zoë Dao-Kroeker, Alissa N. Antle, Alexandra Kitson, Yumiko Murai, and Azadeh Adibi. Designing bio-tech ethics cards: Promoting critical making during an online workshop with youth. In Conference on Interaction Design and Children, (IDC 2021) ACM Press, (accepted) View pre-print here