“Leverage technologies to support vulnerable communities.” That is the mission that drives Lisa Orii's work as a researcher.
In 2017, Orii enrolled at Wellesley College in the United States, where she studied computer science and philosophy. While there, she collaborated with the University of Tokyo researchers for a research project on voice characteristics and social biases. The research, which Orii led, investigated how speech practice using an interactive voice manipulation system and other new technologies impacted individuals' self-perceptions. Research has revealed the existence of biases in how different speaking styles are perceived. For example, people tend to be more trusting of those with a low masculine voice and more critical of those with a high feminine voice. Orii and her colleagues proposed design recommendations for a system that allows individuals to find and practice their desired speaking style without being influenced by biases.
In May 2022, she presented a paper summarizing her findings at a top conference in the field of human-computer interaction (HCI).
Orii is currently working on two projects related to global health at the University of Washington. One study aims to destigmatize women’s experiences with menopause and give voice to women’s experiences. Orii is exploring tools that support women's physical and mental health through sharing experiences and knowledge of menopause across generations.
The other is a study on improving the security of an electronic medical record system (EMRs) at an HIV clinic in the Republic of Malawi. Orii conducted fieldwork in Malawi to discuss with the clinic’s nurses, data handlers, HIV patients, and government members about security concerns and views on EMRs. To contribute to enhancing the security of electronic HIV patient data, Orii is proposing guidelines for the usage and implementation of EMRs that align with regulatory frameworks of Malawi.
At first glance, these studies may seem unrelated. However, they are consistent in their use of technology to alleviate social and technological difficulties and disadvantages faced by vulnerable groups in society.