Prototyping a Device to Measure Child Body Fat…

EDIT: PLEASE RSVP at Pumping Station One’s Meetup page  so we know how much pizza to get! /EDIT

Save the Date: August 17 @ 7pm in Pumping Station One’s Electronics lab:

Prototyping a Device to Measure Child Body Fat: What a Research Firm Learned When It Dipped Its Toe in the Maker Movement


NORC at the University of Chicago serves the public interest and improves lives through objective social science research that supports informed decision making. Working extensively with the federal government, one of NORC’s key functions is to collect high-quality data.

Historically, NORC has collected data through surveys. In recent years, NORC has also begun to capture objective measurements of the “real world” using remote devices and sensors.

To deepen its capabilities, NORC identified a pilot project where it could learn more about the Maker Movement and hackerspaces. This project was inspired by a major federal research effort designed to help scientists understand the causes of a wide variety of childhood illnesses. For this project, NORC could not find an off-the-shelf body fat measurement device that met its needs. So they embarked on an effort to prototype their own device, working with a maker consultant who is an active member of the PS1 community.

Join us for an interactive talk to see the device they developed and share what they learned about the device and about partnering with makers to create a new hardware solution.

Brian Whiteley is an IT Director at NORC. Among his other responsibility, he currently leads NORC’s mobile and sensor based initiatives.
Randy Horton is Managing Principal of 94 Westbound Consulting and is a product and innovation consultant to NORC.
Randy Horton
Ed Bennett is a maker consultant and an active member of the PS1 community.

The NORC presentation on August 17th is on the PS1 calendar in a slot normally used by NERP. NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer and embedded systems interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.

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One thought on “Prototyping a Device to Measure Child Body Fat…

  1. NORC does NERP (or did NERP do NORC?)

    What could NORC, prestigious and historic research institution and aid to US Congress, have to do with Pumping Station: One, hacker haven and halfway house for technological road-kill?

    Quite a bit. It turns out both are seriously into Facts. You know, what we once called Objectivity before the dawn of our golden age of appearance and relativism.

    NORC trades in statistics, where facts still reign supreme. NERP devours objectivity, essential in connecting electronics with the Real World. With this common ground, the partnership is actually natural and inspiring.

    As Ed related, you can find dozens of abstract mathematical formulae in the biometrics literature, but little about practical application of same. Similarly, Randy described the lack of affordable apparatus providing scientifically useful BMI data. Available science is too ethereal; technology is too consumerized.

    Into the breach comes the NERP/NORC alliance: long may it endure!

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