Call for Research Assistants – Fall 2022

Multiple RA Positions for Fall 2022 with Critical by Design research team

The Critical By Design interdisciplinary research group is hiring Research Assistants at the Master’s and PhD levels to join our 5-year project on responsible innovation and Critical Design.

**Update 08/22/22: We are also encouraging upper year undergraduate students and international students to apply!

The team’s immediate goal is to establish benchmarks for responsible innovation based on standards of inclusivity, diversity, equity, and attention toward social, psychological, and environmental impacts of technology. Ultimately, the team will create pedagogical tools and resources (workshops, videos, online modules, community portals, etc.) that help tech researchers and professionals integrate ethical considerations more carefully into their workflow.

Students from all faculties are invited to apply as we are seeking to create a diverse student team to complement our cross-disciplinary agenda. Research Assistants will join the team in Year 1 to conduct a review of responsible innovation toolkits and literature, interface with potential stakeholders (faculty, students, tech professionals), identify possible areas for intervention, and begin the process of designing responsible innovation resources. Candidates should demonstrate a passion for responsible innovation and/or critical design theories and methods and must be open to interdisciplinary ways of thinking and working.

Full-time assignments for the 2022/2023 academic year are for two semesters (10 hours/week x 12 weeks/semester) with a salary of $6,848/term(Master’s) or $8,148/term (PhD). Part-time applicants will also be considered and are encouraged to apply. Selected candidates will have an opportunity to extend their position beyond Year 1, based on performance, for up to 5 years. Appropriate compensation for undergraduate applicants can be arranged.

To apply, please submit the following to Professor Marcel O’Gorman ( by August 27, 2022:

  • a cover letter of maximum 2 pages outlining your reasons for wishing to join the research team, describing any relevant areas of interest and expertise, and stating your academic status (MA/PhD? Year of study?) and program of study(faculty, department,area of specialization),
  • an up-to-date CV
  • any other materials or details that help demonstrate your passion for responsible innovation and/or critical design

The research team is committed to principles of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI), and these standards will be followed throughout the hiring process and during the tenure of each student’s assistantship.We will provide training in EDI to students and work to promote a safe, collaborative work environment.

CML Food for Thought

Food for Thought episodes will recap details from the latest Critical Tech Talk while our host, Alexi Orchard, and special guests share some delicious snacks.

The first episode in this new series Hot Wing Hootenanny debriefs Critical Tech Talk 2: Wendy Chun, which took place on February 10, 2022.

Special guests are Jia Rong Wu (Computer Science PhD Candidate) and Queenie Wu (Systems Design Engineering Undergraduate). This episode was produced by Alexi Orchard, Matt Borland, and Shannon Veitch. Theme music courtesy of Swade Orchard.

View teaser trailers for Hot Wing Hootenanny here:

Heads-Up User Group (HUUG) Research Project

The “HUUGers”, six students from the MA English and undergraduate Systems Design Engineering programs, wore Focals by North smart glasses for three weeks while blogging about their experiences with the glasses. The participants then discussed their experiences with the glasses in a focus group.


Augmented Reality Smart Glasses (ASRG) are a recent development in consumer-level personal computing technology. Research on ARSGs has largely focused on new forms of etiquette for these personal computing devices, but little else has been examined due in part to consumer availability. The most well-known example of an ASRG is Google Glass, which was discontinued for privacy concerns. Focals by North, the device studied in this project, do not have the capacity to record video or audio, thus mitigating the risk of privacy breaches. This study examines how users of Focals employ the device, successfully or not, to facilitate daily activities such as scheduling, communication, wayfinding, and how non-users perceive the interactions of Focals users. Focals by North, a relatively low-cost ASRG, aims to make this tech mass market to “seamlessly [blend] technology into our world” (North). However, this study found participants preferred choice when receiving notifications, and greatly questioned the need for notifications to appear in their field of vision. Though most technology companies envision a future where ASRGs are ubiquitous, this study indicates that the glasses could be utilized more effectively for specific industry or personal needs, as opposed to the general consumer.

Principal Investigator: Marcel O’Gorman

Research Assistants: Chelsea La Vecchia (MA XDM) and Alexi Orchard (MA XDM)

This project was funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, SSHRC, and North.

Focals by North

In June 2020, North was acquired by Google and production for Focals 2.0 ceased. View North’s statement and news coverage here.