Atlanta Conference on Science and Innovation Policy
The Atlanta Conference on Science and Innovation Policy features scholarship from around the world addressing the challenges and characteristics of science and innovation policy and processes. The 2023 conference took place at Georgia Tech from May 24 to 26, 2023.
PhD student Yiyun Zhang (Space Enabled & AeroAstro) had a poster selected for an "Honorable Mention" award based on her work with the Zero Robotics program. She presented on "Using Zero Robotics as a study case for Intersectional Antiracist Technology Framework" and won Honorable Mention in the conference's poster competition.
Here is an abstract for the poster and the related project:
A novel theoretical framework named “Intersectional Antiracist Technology Framework” is developed by Dr. Danielle Wood and Dr. Katlyn Turner. This framework uses Systems Architecture to explain, evaluate and design approaches to incorporate Intersectional Antiracism within the Definition, Design and Distribution lifecycle phases of technology. The framework defines technology across four levels of scale including Concept, Artifact, Complex Product System and Complex Sociotechnical System. The framework seeks to demonstrate methods at each phase in the lifecycle of technology to employ an intersectional antiracist mindset and act towards promoting equity.
In this work, Zero Robotics (ZR) is used as a case study in STEM outreach activities to implement the Intersectional Antiracist Technology Framework. The framework provides a method to evaluate how the Zero Robotics program applies antiracist principles to the program design and execution. New insights and visions to the program design and distribution phases are being explored using the framework. Zero Robotics, an education outreach program led by Prof Wood at MIT, is the first U.S. space robotics competition since 2009. The program aims to engage young students from secondary schools in computer science and space technologies and prepare them for the future STEM workforce. Over 20,000 students and 4,500 educators across 15 countries have participated in the program.
Every year, there is a game challenge being designed for students to gain hands-on experience in engineering and coding. During the program, students learn about the fundamentals of science and robotics and practice their coding skills in the online simulation called the ZR Integrated Development Environment (IDE). The final competition is livestreamed from the International Space Station (ISS) and students interact with the astronauts and watch their code running in space. The program uses the space free flyer robots aboard the ISS called Astrobee, and it seeks a social impact in promoting STEM education and education equality. The ZR program lies at the intersection of Complex Product System and Complex Sociotechnical System scales in the framework which means that both technical and social factors should be considered when asking how the program can be designed with sensitivity to the identity of the program beneficiaries. Continuous development of the program is being made to broaden the participation of underrepresented groups and overcome the technical challenges from the transition to a new robot system.