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  1. Throughout the mechanical design process, designers, the majority of whom are men, often fail to consider the needs of women, resulting in consequences ranging from inconvenience to increase risk of death or serious injury. Although these biases are well-studied in other fields of research, the mechanical design field lacks formal investigation into this phenomenon. In this study, undergraduate engineering students (n = 151) took a survey in which they read a Persona describing a student makerspace employee and a Walkthrough describing their interaction with the makerspace while completing a project. During the Walkthrough, the user encountered various obstacles, or Pain Points. Participants were asked to recall and evaluate the Pain Points that the user encountered, then evaluated their perceptions of the makerspace and user. Six different experimental conditions were used to investigate the impact of gender-stereotyped tasks and the gender of a user on designers’ interpretation of them and their needs. In addition to finding that the gender of a user impacted the way a task environment was perceived, results confirmed the presence of androcentrism, or “default man” assumptions, in the way designers view end users of unknown gender. Future work will explore methodologies of overcoming this bias so that designers are able to consider the diverse needs of a range of users. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  2. null (Ed.)
    Because electron transfer reactions are fundamental to life processes, such as respiration, vision, and energy catabolism, it is critically important to understand the relationship between functional states of individual redox enzymes and the macroscopically observed phenotype, which results from averaging over all copies of the same enzyme. To address this problem, we have developed a new technology, based on a bifunctional nanoelectrochemical-nanophotonic architecture - the electrochemical zero mode waveguide (E-ZMW) - that can couple biological electron transfer reactions to luminescence, making it possible to observe single electron transfer events in redox enzymes. Here we describe E-ZMW architectures capable of supporting potential-controlled redox reactions with single copies of the oxidoreductase enzyme, glutathione reductase, GR, and extend these capabilities to electron transfer events where reactive oxygen species are synthesized within the  100 zL volume of the nanopore. 
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  3. One means to support for design-by-analogy (DbA) in practice involves giving designers efficient access to source analogies as inspiration to solve problems. The patent database has been used for many DbA support efforts, as it is a preexisting repository of catalogued technology. Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA) has been shown to be an effective computational text processing method for extracting meaningful similarities between patents for useful functional exploration during DbA. However, this has only been shown to be useful at a small-scale (100 patents). Considering the vastness of the patent database and realistic exploration at a large scale, it is important to consider how these computational analyses change with orders of magnitude more data. We present analysis of 1,000 random mechanical patents, comparing the ability of LSA to Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) to categorize patents into meaningful groups. Resulting implications for large(r) scale data mining of patents for DbA support are detailed. 
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