What’s new in IEEE?


The Humanitarian Technology Challenge

The IEEE Humanitarian Technology Challenge (HTC) is a new initiative of IEEE, where even in this day and age, far too many people in underdeveloped countries live in darkness, without reliable electricity. Far too many doctors are forced to treat patients without accurate information, and far too many people die from illnesses easily treatable in the world’s developed nations.

The Humanitarian Technology Challenge (HTC) was created by technologists, humanitarians, non-profit organisations, students, government employees – and citizens of the world – who are coming together to identify, and work to solve, some of the world’s most pressing challenges. With a unique, open-source collaborative concept, HTC enables you to make a difference – without making a major commitment of your time or resources.

IEEE Karachi Section has planned to go ahead with HTC and do constructive projects in order to add positive value to the society in all the three spheres of the Challenge. The Section is encouraging student branches to take up these projects in their domain to help solve the various problems in their vicinities, where funding for the ventures is also available for concrete plans.

Reliable Electricity Networks

Everywhere in the world, reliable electric power is critical to economic development, education, and medical care. In developing countries, electricity is fundamental for many essential services, including those that increase incomes and provide development benefits to rural areas.

Yet roughly 350-400 million households or 40 per cent of their population do not have access to electricity. In fact, almost 1.6 billion people currently live without electricity in developing countries. Those who live beyond the electricity networks lack access to health care, education, communications, and enterprise opportunities that modern energy services can facilitate. The lack of access to modern energy services severely limits socio-economic development – an integral part of sustainable development.

This challenge, therefore, requires an effective set of mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive technical solutions particularly suitable for Reliable Energy Supply in developing countries. The resulting solutions must offer:

ü  Low cost

ü  High reliability

ü  Low maintenance

ü  High scalability

ü  High flexibility

ü  Environment friendly

ü  Local training programs for ongoing maintenance

For a complete challenge description, more detail is available at http://www.ieeehtc.org/files/Reliable_Electricity_Challenge_Description.pdf. In order to participate, access to the online collaborative platform will have to be requested at htc@ieee.org, where there is an array of the ideas already in the works and an opportunity for the contributors to share their own.

Data Connectivity of Rural Health Districts

In many developing nations, healthcare is typically provided through many rural district health offices, which may or may not have data connectivity to other health centres in the area. The capability of exchanging data between central health facilities and remote field offices is critically important to providing quality patient care via:

ü  Interaction among healthcare professional to solve day-to-day problems

ü  Retrieval and transfer of patient medical records

ü  Remote treatment/diagnosis

ü  Emergency and outbreak warning

ü  Professional training and resource development

In those few locales where connectivity does exist, most of the data networks are built by various foreign aid organisations, each with specific goals in economic, educational and healthcare development that may not always be consistent with the long term benefits for the rural health centres. Even when we build data connectivity to meet the immediate needs of the sponsoring organisations under adverse conditions and limited resources, it will be wise to consider the requirements for the health offices to maximise the long term benefits.

The data connectivity should have the following characteristics:

ü  Bi-directional transfer of data at equal speeds

ü  Ability to store and forward data

ü  Minimum data transfer rates of x Kb/s and above

ü  Lower the cost structure

ü  It should be possible to easily network and expand the network

ü  Known, tested, tried and reliable technology

ü  Components readily available worldwide

Technology solutions must further take into consideration, and address, non-technical issues related to the private and public section such as politics and governmental policies, donor policies and corporate presence.

For a complete challenge description, more detail is available at http://www.ieeehtc.org/files/Data_Connectivity_Challenge_Description.pdf. In order to participate, access to the online collaborative platform will have to be requested at htc@ieee.org, where there is an array of the ideas already in the works and an opportunity for the contributors to share their own.

Individual ID and Health Records

Throughout healthcare delivery, it is essential to know beyond doubt just who the patient is. Failure to do so encumbers the provision of healthcare at the very least; at the worst, it can prove fatal. Such mistakes do happen, and all too often.

No aspect of healthcare seems immune, with errors occurring in primary, secondary, and tertiary care, and in many disciplines. While patient identification errors have sparked safety initiatives worldwide, these typically focus on large healthcare institutions and are not suitable for the field (primary care). Fundamental to this challenge therefore, is accurate patient identification at the first point in the system – the primary care facility: the most critical, most common and most difficult task. This challenge is further complicated:

ü  Where most people’s names are not unique, including smaller settings such as tribes, and rural and remote communities in developing countries

ü  Identifying information may not be accurate

ü  Records may be abused by third parties for reasons other than healthcare

ü  Illiteracy may prevent individuals from accurately reporting identity.

The technology solution, therefore, must include the ability to:

ü  Initially verify an individual’s identity

ü  Implement an electronic health records system

ü  Safeguard against potential abuse

ü  Store and retrieve data from remote, primary care centres

ü  Work with different systems, for different populations.

For a complete challenge description, more detail is available at http://www.ieeehtc.org/files/Individual_ID_Challenge_Description.pdf. In order to participate, access to the online collaborative platform will have to be requested at htc@ieee.org, where there is an array of the ideas already in the works and an opportunity for the contributors to share their own.

IEEE Educational Activities Board (EAB)

Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) in IEEE

The IEEE EAB is developing the Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) programme in IEEE. EPICS, which was conceived and championed by IEEE 2007 President Leah Jamieson, is a program that organises university and high-school students to work on engineering-related projects for local humanitarian organisations.

The purpose of the EPICS in IEEE program is to further incorporate EPICS into IEEE worldwide, by empowering student branches and IEEE GOLD groups to work with high school students on EPICS community service-related engineering projects, and by institutionalising the programme within IEEE. Through this worldwide expansion, EAB will build a mechanism for sustaining and disseminating the EPICS model to other sections.

The desired outcomes of EPICS in IEEE include:

ü  The establishment of a relationship between the student branches in participating sections, a local high school (or schools), and charitable, communal or humanitarian organisations in each venue. The relationship will focus on development – by university and high school student teams – of devices and systems for the benefit of the target audiences of the communal organisations.

ü  The development of training workshops to train local section champions to establish an EPICS-site in their IEEE sections using local volunteers and resources. These section champions, and the volunteers they train, will be empowered to disseminate the model further – locally and to other Sections.

Working with the EPICS program at Purdue, Educational Activities will create a programme that will impact communities around the world with the objective to:

ü  Increase high school student interest in pursuing an engineering-related career path, and

ü  Leverage the EPICS program demonstrated ability to reach female and under-represented minority students, to increase IEEE recruitment in these demographics.

There are currently 27 projects occurring with EPICS in IEEE. More details on these and how sections and student branches can get involved and the application process is available at http://www.ieee.org/education_careers/education/preuniversity/epics_high.html

Teacher In-Service Program (TISP)

The Teacher In-Service Program (TISP) provides a forum for IEEE volunteers to demonstrate the application of engineering, science and mathematics concepts by sharing their real-world experiences with local pre-university educators.

IEEE offers training workshops for its volunteers on how to provide in-service programmes to local pre-university educators. TISP functions essentially as a professional development workshop aimed at helping teachers bring exciting hands-on engineering lessons into their classrooms. Once trained, IEEE volunteers can connect with pre-university schools in their local communities to deliver the hands-on programme.

The programme’s goals are to:

ü  Empower section volunteers to collaborate with their local pre-university community,

ü  Promote applied inquiry-based learning,

ü  Enhance the level of technical literacy of pre-university educators,

ü  Encourage pre-university students to pursue technical careers, including engineering, and

ü  Increase the general level of technical literacy of pre-university students throughout their educational careers.

IEEE volunteers serve as champions for technological literacy. Through TISP, IEEE volunteers help support engineering education and the development of future engineering students in a number of ways. Since 2001, over 130 in-service presentations have been developed and presented by IEEE volunteers. Approximately 3,200 pre-university educators have participated in an in-service program, impacting almost 350,000 students worldwide. In order for volunteers to get involved with TISP in their local sections, more detail is available at http://www.ieee.org/education_careers/education/preuniversity/tispt/index.html





Top Five Ways to Improve IEEE

Here are the top recommendations for IEEE, worded exactly as they were voted upon by the 294 primary section delegates during IEEE Sections Congress, held 19 to 22 August 2011 in San Francisco.

ü  IEEE to develop a comprehensive long-term strategy to increase the number of next- generation youth pursuing science and engineering careers

ü  As members maintain their IEEE membership over their years, IEEE must reward them for their loyalty. Rewards ought to be tangible and useful and can be done simply and inexpensively. Create Global Fidelity programmes including:

(a) Continued membership recognition for 5-10-15-20 years of membership

(b) Bonus for specific benefits (e.g., reduced fee, IEEE merchandise, etc.)

ü  IEEE membership (including e-membership) should include a society membership as part of the basic membership fee

ü  Increased support to students in technical activities with grants to attend conferences and organisation of technical competitions

ü  To encourage interest in pre-university students in engineering careers, IEEE to publish a subscription periodical (paper or electronic) targeted to high school students that highlights engineering activities of interest to those students. The periodical should also have articles promoting the benefits of an engineering career and what the students can do in college to get involved with IEEE.

IEEE Karachi Section and GINI Pakistan Survey

An online survey was conducted to gauge members of IEEE Karachi Section about the happenings, their regularity and their relevance of activities of IEEE and GINI. The questions focused on the satisfaction of the respondents with respect to the level of IEEE buzz and activities in their domain, categorising problems faced at various levels and suggesting probable and feasible solutions to counter them.

The survey asked about the personal involvement of the participant in IEEE and their feedback for the Karachi Section website. This was followed by the GINI section, where input was requested on the three parts of GINI, namely the Student Branch Networking, Industrial Relations and Collaboration Platform.

The latter part dealt with participants’ responses on the more recent and ambitious objectives of Karachi Section: the Humanitarian Technology Challenge (HTC) and Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS).

Lastly, in order to gauge the recommendation level of IEEE on a personal basis, it was asked whether participants suggested IEEE membership to someone and if they have taken the membership themselves.

The results of this survey are in the process owing to the fact that responses from more volunteers are anticipated from the Section. The survey will close at the end of January, soon after which the results will be displayed on the Section and GINI Pakistan website, and emailed to the IEEE members of the Section as a report.

The survey was available at http://ieee.fluidsurveys.com/surveys/knluu/ieee-gini-karachi-section/

IEEE R10 Meeting 2012 in Kolkata

The IEEE R10 Meeting 2012 in Kolkata, India will be held on 3 March 2012 where a minimum of one representative from each Section of Region 10 Asia Pacific will be present.