April 2nd, 2012

In November 2011, the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society gathered with twelve other broadcast organizations at the inaugural Future of Broadcast Television Summit in Shanghai, China to sign the FoBTV Joint Declaration. The FoBTV Joint declaration recognizes that broadcasting – the transmission of information to an unlimited number of listeners and viewers – is “the most spectrum-efficient wireless delivery means for popular real-time and file-based media content.” It calls for a definition of the requirements of future terrestrial broadcast systems, the exploration of unified terrestrial broadcast standards, and the promotion of technology sharing. If efforts are successful, terrestrial broadcasting will one day bring information and entertainment to both rich and poor, rural communities and cities, and both at-home and mobile users, conserving money and resources in the process.

The IEEE Broadcast Technology Society is one of the founding organizations of the FoBTV Summit along with 12 other organizations representing North and South America, Europe, and Asia. FoBTV founding members recognize that terrestrial broadcasting can play an important role in connecting people and societies. Authors of the declaration recognize how different TV standards developed in different regions during the era of analog, how formats continue to divide and multiply in the digital age, and how modern technology can solve this problem.

March 2nd, 2012

22 February 2012 – Women represent only about 20 percent of engineering students and 10 percent of profession engineers, according to statistics. The “My Daughter is an Engineer” (MDIAE) program — designed to bring mothers and daughters together to participate in engineering-based activities — is helping to change that. This K-12 outreach program, sponsored by the IEEE Control Systems Society, introduces robotics and controls to young girls via hands-on engineering workshops with an aim to get them to consider future careers in STEM (science, engineering, technology, and mathematics). Participants included 14 elementary school girls and their mothers who worked together in two engineering-based workshops on robotics and controls technology in everyday life at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), California, USA. Each student and her mother formed a team, made a remote-controlled robot (called the RC Snap Rover), designed an application to use the robot in helping a daily task, presented their project, and demoed their robot. Three winners were selected based on the creativity and performance.

The girls also participated in a separate workshop on academic career preparation and skills learning. The program included a field trip to Columbia Memorial Space Center at City of Downey, California, USA, in which students and their mothers visited a realistic mock-up of a spacecraft and mission control room. To successfully complete their mission, they became crew members on a simulated space mission to solve real-life problems in math, science, and technology. After the mission, they visited a robotics lab to program a robot on Lego/Mission Mars computer and tested their skills with collecting, surveying, and rescuing. Finalists were recommended and selected by the school counselors and the MDIAE program committee. Participating schools included four schools from the Long Beach Unified School District: Chavez Elementary, Edison Elementary, International Elementary, and Roosevelt Elementary (California, USA). More information can be found on the Women in Engineering Outreach Program Web site.

 

March 2nd, 2012

25 January 2012 – Three hundred children in a remote school in Kenya now have electricity thanks to the successful installation of a portable experimental solar power system there. The design, developed as part of the IEEE Humanitarian Technology Challenge (HTC) Reliable Electricity Solution, is engineered in a way that is self-maintaining and user intuitive. The challenge was to design a system that people in rural, impoverished areas — many whom are both illiterate and non-technical — could easily use, operate, and repair. A team of IEEE volunteer experts led by Butch Shadwell of the IEEE Industrial Electronics Society and Dr. Pritpal Singh of the IEEE Power and Energy Society met in 2010 to figure out a way to solve this problem. Together they designed a self-maintaining solar power system that employs internal management intelligence far greater than what is normally found in a unit its size. 

So far, test units have been installed in four locations: In Waslala, Nicaragua at a Catholic Parrish, to provide reliable lighting and refrigeration to a pharmacy as part of a program to provide medical care to the poor; In San Juan Yaro, Nicaragua, in a farm house that supports a women’s health program, including HIV diagnosis and support; In Sirua Aulo Academy near Kilgoris, Kenya, where most students had never before seen an electric light in a building; and in Delaware County Community College (USA) for a program to teach students about solar power. A fifth system is scheduled to be installed at a remote medical clinic in Ghana this year.

All units have functioned well in a wide range of environments among various users. The self-maintaining solar power system is expected to become more affordable over time, as emergency first responders purchase units to support operations in disaster areas, increasing the economies of scale. As a result, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) should be able to finance it in the future for remote medical clinics and private use in impoverished areas.

The IEEE Humanitarian Technology Challenge, or HTC, is a part of Engineering for Change, in which IEEE is a supporter. Engineering for Change provides a forum to connect, collaborate, solve challenges and share knowledge among a growing community of engineers, technologists, social scientists, NGOs, local governments and community advocates, who are dedicated to improving the quality of life all over the world. 

   

March 2nd, 2012

7 December 2011- The IEEE Power & Energy Society is pleased to announce the inaugural IEEE PES Scholarship Plus Initiative award recipients. Ninety-three (93) IEEE PES Scholarship recipients have been selected from 51 U.S. universities for the 2011-12 Academic year. These scholarships are being distributed through the IEEE Power & Energy Scholarship Fund which is being used to support the IEEE PES Scholarship Plus Initiative.

These undergraduate students were selected by industry and academic representatives based primarily upon: academic preparation; extra-curricular activities and leadership; interest in engineering in general, and power and energy engineering in particular; and overall assessment of student’s potential for a successful power and energy engineering career. Visit the IEEE PES Scholarship Plus Initiative web site for more information.

March 2nd, 2012

26 October 2011 – Results from the VisLab Intercontinental Autonomous Challenge (VIAC) – a project in which driverless, green-energy vehicles completed a 15,000 km trip – were revealed at the 2011 IEEE Intelligent Vehicles Symposium. The VIAC, partially funded with a five-year grant from the European Research Council obtained by the IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Society (IEEE ITSS) president, showed that vehicles may someday be able to move goods between continents without the need for drivers.

The vehicles successfully transported goods from Parma, Italy to Shanghai, China between the months of July and October 2010. Each vehicle utilized sets of high-tech equipment that included cameras, laser scanners, GPS, and sensors. They also contained computers responsible for processing images and data, path-planning, steering, accelerating, and braking. A lead vehicle set the route by continuously collecting data through experimental tests on sensing, decision, and control subsystems. It drove autonomously in mapped regions of the trip, but drivers had to take control in some occasions. The second vehicle, which was 100 percent autonomous, automatically followed the route defined by the lead vehicle, following it either visually with the use of cameras or using GPS waypoints. The vehicles were propelled by batteries charged at power outlets or by generators while solar panels on the vehicles’ roofs powered their autonomous driving systems.

The VIAC is considered a major milestone in vehicular robotics. Research results were widely publicized at the IEEE Intelligent Vehicles Symposium, the premier annual forum of the IEEE ITSS, and in the September 2011 issue of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine. For more information on the VIAC, visit the project’s website, or read more about the project at IEEE Spectrum.

March 2nd, 2012

14 September 2011 – In rural, impoverished nations, medical care and disaster relief can be difficult to deliver due to a lack of technology that would allow healthcare workers to identify individuals and track patient records. To help solve this problem, the IEEE Humanitarian Technology Challenge developed an eHealth solution called “RFID Individual Tracking and Records Management,” or RFID-ITRM. RFID-ITRM investigates computational intelligence (CI) to mine medical records, examine physician decisions, and process biometric data for patient identification. There are several operational components involved. An electronic medical record system is installed in a local community healthcare center. Members of the community are given RFID chips – embedded in ID cards, bracelets, or necklaces – that allow community healthcare workers to update their patient information into the system using mobile RFID read/write devices that can read the patients’ RFID chips. The technology continuously updates and tracks patient health records in the electronic medical record system.

RFID-ITRM is central to preventing medical errors, identifying victims of natural disasters, and tracking and monitoring diseases and outbreaks, as well as infants and vaccination history. The IEEE Computational Intelligence Society’s Task Force on Computational Intelligence in the Marketplace was directly involved with advising on the theory and implementation of the system’s CI-component. The system was tested in a local clinic in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). The local clinic provided medical expertise, including forms to be used on a mobile portal and back-office system. A second test has been planned for October 2011 in Gujarat, India. The task force, represented by the solution leader in the UAE, is overseeing the tests and local volunteers are involved in fieldwork.

The IEEE Humanitarian Technology Challenge, or HTC, is a part of Engineering for Change, in which IEEE is a supporter. Engineering for Change provides a forum to connect, collaborate, solve challenges and share knowledge among a growing community of engineers, technologists, social scientists, NGOs, local governments and community advocates, who are dedicated to improving the quality of life all over the world.

March 2nd, 2012

31 August 2011- As part of the IEEE Electron Devices Society (EDS) strategy to rejuvenate chapter activities in the United States and the rest of the world, the newly created Engineers Demonstrating Science – an Engineer Teacher Connection (IEEE EDS-ETC) program has recently launched. The goal of the program is to enable chapter members to visit local schools or host events designed to engage young students in the field of electrical engineering. By utilizing easy-to-use Elenco Snap Circuits kits, students learn about electronic circuits using a “hands-on” approach to experiencing the exciting and creative field of electronics. The Society hopes EDS-ETC will encourage students to consider electrical and electronic engineering as a career.

The program, led by IEEE EDS volunteer Fernando Guarin, was designed with help from the Rochester, Boise and the Mid-Hudson Valley Chapters. These dedicated volunteers are working with local science teachers ranging from the 4th through 12th grade levels to run initial evaluations. In the first phase of the project, IEEE EDS plans to make this offering available to its chapters in the United States. Based on this experience, the Society will extend the program to EDS chapters around the globe. In anticipation, the Society recruited the Colombia Chapter to run a pilot program in Bogota, Columbia with the participation of two major universities partnering with local schools.

  

March 2nd, 2012

27 July 2011 – This year, the IEEE Humanitarian Technology Challenge (HTC) oversaw a program in which solar-based “Sunblazer” generating stations were installed in rural Haitian villages that now deliver basic electricity to over 1,400 people. Under the program, six villages each received a 1.5 kilowatt Sunblazer station capable of charging 40 small portable batteries for distribution to residences and businesses for local use. When the batteries lose power, they are returned for re-charging. The program’s benefits align with a core concept of the IEEE HTC, which is to create a technical solution to a problem that can be adopted locally through a sustainable business model.

To work, the program aligns with a franchise business model in which local entrepreneurs contract equipment including the portable home battery packs and light-emitting diode (LED) home lighting kits. The business owner pays a fixed monthly fee to the holding company, Sirona-Haiti, to cover all equipment servicing and maintenance as well as to train operators and finance new equipment. The home battery packs are leased to the homeowners who pay a deposit and a monthly fee. Approximately half the profits go to the business owner(s). For the immediate future, a plan to manufacture nine new pilot stations in Haiti is currently underway. The stations will be donated to provide a convincing test of the business model necessary for Sirona-Haiti to raise venture capital for in-country production. The long-range goal is to manufacture approximately 4,500 stations over the next five years to deliver electricity to at least a million people and create a significant number of new jobs in the country.

CSI is a non-profit member group of the IEEE Power and Energy Society and was introduced as part of the joint IEEE and HTC. The IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society has been a strong financial sponsor of the CSI efforts in Haiti. The IEEE Foundation also contributed. To read more about CSI activities, visit the Community Solutions Initiative blog.

The IEEE Humanitarian Technology Challenge, or HTC, is a part of Engineering for Change, in which IEEE is a supporter. Engineering for Change provides a forum to connect, collaborate, solve challenges and share knowledge among a growing community of engineers, technologists, social scientists, NGOs, local governments and community advocates, who are dedicated to improving the quality of life all over the world.

March 1st, 2012

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