Producing videos about pioneers of information theory and cybernetics, teaching students how to improve agriculture with technology, and getting kids interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields are among the goals of seven projects that received IEEE Foundation grants last year. IEEE groups plan to use the money to increase the understanding of technology and its role in meeting global challenges and improving the human condition. The grants, totaling $228,543, were awarded by the IEEE Foundation Fund and the IEEE Life Members Fund.
From the IEEE Foundation Fund:
- The IEEE West Michigan Section received a $7,950 grant to create a free public exhibit at Barns Park in Traverse City, Mich. The exhibit, scheduled to open in October, is designed to teach basic concepts of geothermal technology and illustrate methods that can be used to benefit the environment.
- The IEEE Information Theory Society was awarded a $90,000 grant to produce an hour-long documentary about the life and work of Claude E. Shannon, known as the father of information theory.
- The IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology (SSIT) will use its $35,529 grant to educate the public about cybernetics, which is the study of how people, animals, and machines process information. It plans to produce a 10-minute documentary about Norbert Weiner, the father of cybernetics, and create a website dedicated to new developments in the field.
- The IEEE Kerala (India) Section chapter of the SSIT received $12,000 to hold a video contest. Participants will be asked to submit entries addressing ways that technology affects society.
- A $20,000 grant was awarded to the IEEE Toronto Section to produce a series of online videos on Internet governance.
From the IEEE Life Members Fund:
- The IEEE Buenaventura (Calif.) Section received $16,331 to develop educational programs for high school and university students on how to use imaging technology to analyze the area’s water supply, usage, and distribution to help farmers grow more food with less water.
- A $10,303 grant was awarded to the IEEE student branch at the University of Texas, Dallas, to build a model of the local power grid to demonstrate the effects of harmonics—voltage and current variations caused by nonlinear loads—on power transmission. Harmonics are a frequent cause of blackouts.
- The IEEE Eastern North Carolina Section received a $36,430 grant to continue its humanoid robotics project. Members of the section have built a robot, named Ken, that can process speech, detect faces, and have simple conversations with people. The money is to be used to train local engineering students to operate the bot and bring it to schools and community events to teach people about robotics.
This year the IEEE Foundation is expected to invest approximately $325,000 in grants to help fund IEEE grassroots projects that raise awareness and understanding of technology and its impact on society. The deadline for IEEE organizational units to apply for a grant is 15 July.