Abstract

Evaluating the social impacts of engineered products is critical to ensuring that products are having their intended positive impacts and learning how to improve product designs for a more positive social impact. Quantitative evaluation of product social impacts is made possible through the use of social impact indicators, which combine the user data in a meaningful way to give insight into the current social condition of an individual or population. Most existing methods for collecting these user data for social impact indicators require direct human interaction with users of a product (e.g., interviews, surveys, and observational studies). These interactions produce high-fidelity data that help indicate the product impact but only at a single snapshot in time and are typically infrequently collected due to the large human resources and cost associated with obtaining them. In this article, a framework is proposed that outlines how low-fidelity data often obtainable using remote sensors, satellites, or digital technology can be collected and correlated with high-fidelity, infrequently collected data to enable continuous, remote monitoring of engineered products via the user data. These user data are critical to determining current social impact indicators that can be used in a posteriori social impact evaluation. We illustrate an application of this framework by demonstrating how it can be used to collect data for calculating several social impact indicators related to water hand pumps in Uganda. Key to this example is the use of a deep learning model to correlate user type (man, woman, or child statured) with the raw hand pump data obtained via an integrated motion unit sensor for 1200 hand pump users.

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