Student Design Contest Aims at Humanitarian Challenges

The object is to provide a working prototype, scale model, or detailed engineering design specifications for a project that attempts to solve one of these three challenges

6 November 2009

Any students out there with a good design idea for solving one of the humanitarian challenges identified by IEEE and the United Nations might want to enter the Regional Student Design Competition. The contest runs until 28 May 2010 and is open to individual IEEE student members or student teams in each of IEEE’s 10 regions.

The competition is part of the Humanitarian Technology Challenge, a joint project of IEEE, the United Nations Foundation, and the Vodaphone Foundation that represents a partnership among humanitarians, technologists, and others to develop technical solutions to key challenges facing health care and disaster workers. The object is to provide a working prototype, scale model, or detailed engineering design specifications for a project that attempts to solve one of these three challenges:

  • Providing a reliable source of electricity in poor and remote areas.
  • Developing a data-transmission system for exchanging patient information among remote and central medical field offices.
  • Devising a foolproof electronic system for identifying individuals—one that works with different databases, including a health care system.

Contestants must define the scope of their project, identify the technology and solutions being proposed, conduct the systems analysis and do the design, provide information on R&D that may already have been done and bolsters their proposals, develop and present a project plan, and include an estimate of costs. They must also be prepared to discuss and defend all aspects of their work.

Teams must be led by an IEEE student member, but may include students who are not members. Faculty members or industry representatives may serve as mentors and champions or just provide guidance to the students.

The prizes and team recognition categories will be announced in February. Panels of regional judges designated by the Humanitarian Technical Challenge will review submissions and recommend recipients for the regional awards.

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