IEEE Kerala Section SIGHT in association with IEEE LINK and IEEE Kerala Section YP recently conducted a novel event called “Students Humanitarian Technology Conference” on May 1st. This was first of its kind for the students and by the students. The conference was ideated and presented to sensitize students towards humanitarian technology activities and to give them exposure to the kind of projects being undertaken globally. Many global IEEE leaders working in the humanitarian technology area participated in this two-day event and shared their experience with the students.
The inaugural session on the first day was presided by Mrs. Sarada Jayakrishnan, Chair IEEE Kerala Section. In her presidential address she stressed the importance of the need for the engineering students and engineers in general to give back to the society. She hoped that the conference would orient the volunteers to go beyond one time projects and look for sustainable technological interventions in the community. She also briefly touched upon the eminent leaders and introduced each one of them briefly.
The conference was inaugurated by Mr. Sampathkumar Veeraraghavan who is the current chair of the IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee. He gave an introduction about HAC and various activities carried out by IEEE HAC and SIGHT volunteers across the globe. He also touched upon the funding and other support provided by HAC and SIGHT for organizing and executing activities by individual SIGHT groups for the community.
After the inaugural address, Mr. Deepak Mathur Director IEEE Region 10, in his keynote address, gave an overview of the IEEE region 10 structure and various projects and programs being initiated by the region for volunteers interested to work in humanitarian technology activities.
Dr. Jing Dong, Chair of IEEE R10 Humanitarian Technology Activities Sub-Committee felicitated the program and shared various initiatives being planned by Region 10 in the humanitarian area.
The first keynote speaker on the first day was Dr. Suresh Nair, Chair of IEEE India Council. He congratulated the SHTC Team for organizing the conference during such difficult times and took us through an informative session that urged the audience to utilize the time and energy that they have and come up with ideas and projects that will benefit the world. “Think Big” and go for impactful, sustainable projects, he emphasised.
The second keynote session of the evening was by Mr. Amarnath Raja, Chair of IEEE A&A Committee and the co-founder and Executive Chairman of InApp. Amarnath Raja was the person behind IEEE starting a special affinity group for promoting humanitarian technology activities in IEEE. He gave the participants insights on how to apply for SIGHT Projects and concluded the session by sharing his experience of participating in some of the large humanitarian activities initiated by IEEE HAC and SIGHT.
First day, also had three project presentations by students representing three different Student Branches from India. The first one was from Vishwakarma Institute of Technology, Pune. Swapnil Mane who was one of the lead member in the project team presented their project titled “ SAM Robot for mass sanitization”. He presented a video clip of their robot in action. The second presentation was by the Mangalam college of Engineering about their project “Portable Mechanical Ventilator”. The third and the last presentation of the first day was by Ameesh M Iqbal and his team from Model Engineering College, Cochin about their project “ Automation of Trolleys in hospitals to mitigate the risk of infections.”
The first day also had two break sessions where the Kerala SIGHT volunteers conducted quizzes for the participants. Sumayiah K Arshafudeen and Amal Johnson were the winners in these two different Quiz sessions.
The second day of the Students Humanitarian Technology Conference started off with a keynote address of Mr. Elango Rangaswamy, the founder of the Trust for Village Self Governance. He talked about the Bottom-up development approach and how he could help improve the living conditions of a village in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. He urged the youth of our country to step up to uplift the country from the current scenario. Mr. Elango’s inspiring session was followed by another keynote by Mr. Lwanga Herbert, the founder of M/S LOG`EL GROUP LTD and the IEEE SIGHT Chair.
Mr. Lwanga, shared his experience in working with many global SIGHT projects and the plans for the year 2021. He also gave the audience a brief description about how being an active volunteer can bring changes that go beyond borders.
After a break session which engaged the participants in a quiz competition, the session resumed starting with a Special Project Presentation by Mr. Dan Ahimbisibwe from IEEE Uganda Section. He shared his inspiration and experience behind his project “The hands-free opening door system” which was then followed by a Q&A session with the participants.
The second day also had three project presentations by IEEE student members. These included “Tele Health Monitoring System in Rural Areas through Primary Health Centre using IOT for Covid-19” by Shivani and team from Vignan Institute of Technology and Science from IEEE Hyderabad Section, “Tele-operated wheelchair with negative pressure isolation hood” by Akhil Raj and team from Amrita School of Engineering from IEEE Kerala Section and finally, “Non- contact measurement of body parameters” by Tinu Benny and team of Model Engineering College from IEEE Kerala Section.
Student projects was followed by a followed a Panel Discussion moderated by Prof. Sabarinath Pillai, Vice chair IEEE India Council Young Professional. The topic of the discussion was “Beyond Projects” stressing the need for SIGHT groups to start taking up programs that can help the underserved communities in a sustainable manner. Mr. Aneesh Rajeev from IEEE UK & Ireland section, Mr. Ahimbisibwe Dan from IEEE Uganda Section and Mr. Muhammed Iqbal from IEEE Kerala Section participated as the panelists. The discussion was largely on the UN sustainable goals and how best IEEE can support in conducting programs on some these sustainable development areas.
Finally the conference ended with a beautiful instrumental music by the talented musician and multi-instrumentalist Mr. Anunand and his talented colleague Mr. Justin Christy. To conclude the conference, Mr. Midhun, Secretary of IEEE Kerala Section SIGHT, extended the gratitude to all invited speakers and participants conference on an official note. He also thanked IEEE LINK and IEEE Kerala YP for their enormous cooperation and support in this event.
The conference was a big success both in content and participation. Each day saw an average 100 participants in the Zoom platform. There were also participants who watched the event streamed live through Kerala Section YouTube & IEEEtv channel.