2021 SIGHT Group of the Year – IEEE CEC (Chengannur College of Engineering) SIGHT
The IEEE CEC SIGHT Group was selected to receive this award for its commitment to impacting its local underserved community through the development or deployment of technology. The Group has contributed to the SIGHT program by strengthening the SIGHT network, finding sustainable technological (economic, environmental, social) solutions to local challenges, involving the beneficiary population in the planning and implementation of a project, and actively striving to further the IEEE SIGHT mission.
The CEC SIGHT Group was established in October 2013, and is among the first ten IEEE Student Branch SIGHT Groups to have been formed. In 2021, the Group established a team of student volunteers for humanitarian initiatives and organized many events and activities, including webinars, seminars, outreach programs, an ideathon challenge, speech contests, women empowerment projects, and training sessions for the SIGHT technical team. They also engaged in several projects to benefit their local community, such as the deployment of automated hand sanitizer dispensers in medical centers dedicated to vaccination purposes (in partnership with the student branch’s Robotics & Automation Society chapter). The Group implemented the project “RoboSight” which received funding from the IEEE Region 10 Student Activities Committee (SAC) special call for proposals connected to COVID-19. RoboSight is an assistance robot that allows healthcare workers to interact with COVID-positive patients from a distance to reduce the risk of transmission. Additionally, the Group received funding from IEEE HAC/SIGHT in 2021 for the project “SIGHT GRAMINA DIGITAL HUB” to implement a village-level digital hub with a solar power system, smart classroom, library, and emergency health & sanitation facilities to support students unable to keep up with their online classes during the pandemic era. Local communities and businesses were stakeholders in the project.
In regards to lessons learned, the Group Chair shares that, “through SIGHT activities, students can quickly assess real-world problems and find appropriate methods to tackle them. As a part of [the SIGHT] community, we can see how volunteers across the world identify issues and how they implement methods to resolve them. It has enabled students to explore the boundaries of engineering and go beyond textual knowledge…Being a part of various projects has given students the much-needed experience in identifying the quickest route and implementing the most feasible ideas. Another valuable takeaway is the collaboration between the student volunteers and partnering authorities. Through its activities, students have learned to interact professionally with official authorities…who often provide pivotal support during project planning and implementation.”
2021 SIGHT Group of the Year Honorable Mention – IEEE New Jersey (NJ) Coast Section SIGHT
The IEEE NJ Coast Section SIGHT Group was selected to receive this award for its commitment to impacting its local underserved community through the development or deployment of technology. The Group has contributed to the SIGHT program by strengthening the SIGHT network, finding sustainable technological (economic, environmental, social) solutions to local challenges, involving the beneficiary population in the planning and implementation of a project, and actively striving to further the IEEE SIGHT mission.
The NJ Coast Section SIGHT Group was established in January 2019 as the first SIGHT Group in IEEE Region 1 (the northeastern United States). This Group has been working for the past several years with a focus on technological solutions to improve health and medical device literacy and to advance sustainable, scalable, interoperable inclusion for people with hearing loss and deafness. Over the last years, they have identified a community to support; obtained funding from IEEE HAC/SIGHT and IEEE Region 1; and established relationships with the community, engineers, and stakeholders to collaborate on solutions. The Group is currently working on its 2021 HAC/SIGHT funded project, “Health and Justice for All,” to connect medical devices to tailored, bilingual, online instructions and health information. In order to continue its work, Group members take courses online and regularly attend technical seminars, all while developing a growing group of volunteers.
The Group held a lot of activities over the course of 2021, many in conjunction with other IEEE entities and programs. Some of the activities included a series called “Celebrating our History – InvestingYour Future” with the IEEE History Oral Histories & Milestones programs; contributions to IEEE Standards (SA) Healthcare & Life Sciences and SA Dignity, Inclusion, Identity, Trust, and Agency; and engagement with Society chapters and the local Women in Engineering (WIE) affinity group.
The Group Chair shares that, “IEEE SIGHT activities benefit members and the community, improving opportunities to learn about humanitarian topics, technical skills used in the projects, and professional skills through the events, projects, meetings and online courses offered by IEEE. Our Section has a rich History in the Communication Technologies; our SIGHT Group leverages this History to identify important connections with humanitarian technologies, to recognize individuals, achievements, and promote role models to inspire, encourage people to understand the role of engineering, and to become engineers. Importantly, the humanitarian projects foster enhancing community and skills even outside the workplace and across life stages, from early education and through retirement. A [connection] with our Section History enabled the SIGHT Group to leverage technical skills involving communication, information, internet, human factors, and more to enrich the events and projects for everybody.”