Hello World! I'm Yasaman Rohanifar, an MSc Student in Computer Science at the University of Toronto. I'm also part of the DGP lab and the ThirdSpace research group where I conduct research under supervision of Prof. Syed Ishtiaque Ahmed. My research interests revolve around Human-Computer Interaction (HCI).
My research is interdisciplinary and mostly lies within the intersections of computers and humanity. Inspired by theories of information studies, science and technology studies, sociology, and development studies, as well as HCI and CSCW, I try to understand the socio-technical practices of marginalized communities and hopefully come up with practical technical solutions for them. I’m mostly interested in Financial Technologies (FinTech), Empathetic Technologies, and Philanthropic Informatics. My other areas of interest include controversy mapping and analysis, breakdown and repair, and privacy and security.
Apart from being a full-time student, graduate research assistant, and teaching assistant, I enjoy most of my time hanging out with my friends and family, being outdoors, biking, and exploring. When forced indoors, I still tend to spend time with my loved ones, listen to music, follow a number of television shows, play the piano, cook (sometimes), and read books (sometimes all at the same time).
This demonstration is built on the postcolonial scholar, Homi Bhabha's idea of Ambivalence and exhibits experiences of "smooth" and "rough" tactile feelings simultaneously to convey to a typical smartphone user the struggles of electronic waste (e-waste) workers when they dismantle, test, and recycle broken electronic devices. The demonstration consists of two components: 1) a mobile game that imitates e-waste workers' routine tasks, and 2) a smart glove that reacts correspondingly to the player's moves in the game by simulating unpleasant feelings. This demonstration introduces the harsh and inconvenient experiences that e-waste workers face in recycling practices, along with the familiar smooth tactile experiences in touch-based interactive devices. The co-presence and concurrent experiences of "smooth" and "rough" create an 'ambivalence' and allow the user to reflect on the stark differences between the two worlds of interactions with mobile phones. This demonstration is aimed to later develop empathetic connections between people with different privileges and backgrounds.
Research in ICT about forced displacement focuses mainly on refugees. Internally displaced people (IDPs), however, are rarely discussed in ICT and related disciplines. This paper aims to fill in the gap and provide an insight into the everyday lives of conflictdriven IDPs and their ICTs usage based on our original fieldwork at several IDP and refugee camps in northern Iraq. Our work includes extended field observations, surveys with 86 IDPs and 47 refugees, and examination of recent reports about IDPs from international NGOs that have been active in that region. Our findings illustrate that IDPs live under similar resource-constrained environment as refugees and, in some cases, suffer from even harsher restrictions. We highlight how these confines limit their ICTs usage and discuss opportunities for future ICT research and policy implication to improve the quality of life of the displaced residing within their own borders.
After pitching our project on financial inclusion to the Techno team, our group was selected to be part of this year's Techno Program at UofT!
I attended this year's CAN-CWIC where I also presented a poster on "Informality and Transnational Finance".
We designed a 3-day course material as part of the curriculum of high schools in Guyana to teach them about computer science and robotics. Starting by teaching basic programming concepts such as loops and conditions for the first session (using tools such as Scratch by MIT), we would gradually prepare the students to build their own robot and be able to program it using Arduino (as time allows). The second session would be dedicated to learning about the different electronic components of the robot, their functionalities, and how to assemble them into a fully functioning robot. At this stage, they would be able to control their robot using a joystick. The robot would be an artist robot (or "Robart"), with the capability of creating unlimited artworks using different utensils. The students can either pre-program the Robart to draw the shapes they want or draw as they go. They can have fun challenges such as trying to write their names or drawing a complicated shape using various utensils (chalk, marker, ink, ...) on the ground. In the third session, students will be able to expand their programming knowledge by adding more functionalities or modifying the existing ones to customize their Robart.