The Michigan Engineer News Center

Roya Ensafi named inaugural Consumer Reports Digital Lab Fellow

The new fellowship program was designed to study the effects of connected products and services.| Short Read

Prof. Roya Ensafi has been named an inaugural Digital Lab Fellow by Consumer Reports, with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The 2020-21 cohort consists of five public interest technology researchers from around the world, working on a 10 month collaboration with support and a stipend. As a fellow, Ensafi will lead the development of an innovative VPN test suite, and engage volunteers in large-scale testing.

The new fellowship program was designed to study the effects of connected products and services, in particular emerging consumer harms in fields like IoT, machine decision making, and the data broker economy. The goal of the program is to increase transparency and advance consumers’ interests in the marketplace — devising new testing frameworks, tools, and procedures to evaluate values such as privacy, security, and fairness.

“In an increasingly porous digital world, it is becoming critical to protect user privacy,” said Doron Weber, Vice President and Program Director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, in a press release by Consumer Reports. “We are proud to expand our partnership with Consumer Reports by supporting these talented technologists in the creation of new tools and methodologies focused on the fundamental right of consumer protection.”

The Consumer Reports Digital Lab was founded in 2019.

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The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

Mapping quantum structures with light to unlock their capabilities

Rather than installing new “2D” semiconductors in devices to see what they can do, this new method puts them through their paces with lasers and light detectors. | Medium Read