IEEE Announces Winners of Global Student Competition for Humanitarian Endeavors in Science, Engineering and Technology

(PISCATAWAY, New Jersey – June 25, 2009) – IEEE, the world’s largest technical professionalassociation, today announced the winners of its inaugural IEEE Presidents’ Change the World Competition. The competition recognizes students who developed unique solutions to real-world problems using engineering, science, computing and leadership skills to benefit their community and/or humanity as a whole. The IEEE Presidents’ Change the World Competition is part of the global celebration of IEEE’s 125th Anniversary.

“The IEEE Presidents’ Change the World Competition provided students from across the globe with an opportunity to use their engineering and technology skills, and to express their creativity, entrepreneurship and leadership to make a positive impact on humanity,” said John Vig, IEEE President and chair of the 125th Anniversary committee. “This contest not only successfully engaged students worldwide, it also helped stimulate their inherent passion for helping mankind and making a real difference.”

More than 200 students took advantage of the opportunity to have their ingenuity and enthusiasm for engineering and technology recognized by prestigious IEEE members worldwide. A panel of judges narrowed down the entries to a list of 15 finalists, and IEEE’s immediate past, present and future presidents have evaluated each one and selected the following winners based on the results their project achieved as well as the overall impact on humanity or their local community.

IEEE Student Humanitarian Supreme Prize: U.S. $10,000
NanoLab: A Hand-Held Diagnostic Laboratory, by Drew Hall and Richard Gaster, students at Stanford University, California, USA.

In third world countries, access to medical diagnostic laboratories and well trained technicians is limited. As a result, the majority of diagnoses in these regions are based upon patient signs and symptoms. While this method of patient care is suitable in straightforward situations such as diagnosing the flu, the vast majority of illnesses cannot be determined by simple observation. Hall and his team have designed a handheld device capable of quantitative multiplex protein detection in a very simple to use, wash-free assay that is more sensitive than the Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA), the current gold standard in protein detection. Due to the ease of use, portability, and low cost, their platform could have a very broad impact on society ranging from molecular diagnostics in remote villages in Africa (which lack laboratory equipment and skilled technicians) to over the counter home diagnostics kits that can be purchased at local pharmacies.

IEEE Distinguished Student Humanitarian Prize: U.S. $5,000
Electronic Aids for Physically/Mentally handicapped Children, by Kartik Kulkarni and team, Students at B.V. Bhoomaraddi College of Engineering and Technology, India.

This team of 19 students worked together with the USHAS Center for Exceptional Children, Hubli, to develop games, devices and toys that create excitement and interest for physically and mentally handicapped children. Bringing a sense of fun to the exercises, the devices help therapists encourage physical and mental exercises which can help the patients overcome their disability. Modules include: The Walking Tutor, a leg exercising game aid, and Chitra Vallari, which enhances cognitive abilities. Continuous feedback from doctors and therapists is helping to standardize these modules for mass production so that they can be properly and easily implemented at different locations.

IEEE Exceptional Student Humanitarian Prize: U.S. $2,500
Engineering Innovators Without Borders, by Kevin McGarvey and team, by students at Rowan University, New Jersey, USA.

This team of five students developed a bicycle-powered grain crusher, useful in many rural parts of the world where the conversion of grain to flour is often made difficult because of the lack of electricity for motorized grain crushers. Using an existing quern device as a starting point and improving on the design to be more affordable and reproducible, the team tested models, worked with villagers and modified several versions. The final device helps the community produce higher quantities of flour at a minimal cost. Once distributed, the devices should also provide entrepreneurial opportunities to the villages and people running them. This should alleviate poverty to an extent in the developing world and improve the quality of life.

Outstanding Student Humanitarian Prizes U.S. $1,000
Project Spread the Light – Provide Electricity in a Small Settlement, by Ifeanyi Orajaka and team, Onitsha, Nigeria.

e.quinox – Bring Electricity to Rural Communities in Developing Countries, by Christopher Hopper and team, London, United Kingdom.

AGROBOT – Robots in Agriculture, by Nagendran Rajendran, Udumalpet, India.

Information System on Human and Health Services (ISHHS), by Sampathkumar Veeraraghavan, Medford, USA.

NIDAAN – An e-Healthcare Solution for the Under Privileged, by Sumit Pandey, Gandhinagar, India.

People’s Choice Prize: U.S. $500
Information System on Human and Health Services (ISHHS), by Sampathkumar Veeraraghavan, Medford, USA.

Representatives from the top three teams will accept their awards in-person on 25 June 2009 at the IEEE Honors Ceremony in Los Angeles, California, USA. For complete details, please visit the IEEE 125th Anniversary Web site at

About IEEE 125th Anniversary
In 2009, IEEE is commemorating 125 years of ingenuity and innovation in engineering and technology with events and activities supporting the anniversary theme “Celebrating 125 Years of Engineering the Future.” The year-long IEEE celebration includes local and global member and customer events; the first IEEE Presidents’ Change the World Competition for students; a global media roundtable and webcast featuring emerging, world-changing technologies; the official unveiling of IEEE Engineering the Future Day on 13 May 2009; and much more. For more information on the IEEE 125th Anniversary, visit

For member messages: For information on scheduled activities, how to establish an IEEE anniversary event, add to the calendar, or share an anniversary-related greeting, video or photo, visit

About IEEE
The IEEE is the world’s largest technical professionalassociation, with more than 375,000 members in 160 countries, and a leading authority on technology-related matters ranging from aerospace systems, computers and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power and consumer electronics. The IEEE publishes 30 percent of the world’s literature in the electrical and electronics engineering and computer science fields, has developed nearly 900 active industry standards and annually sponsors more than 850 conferences worldwide. Learn how the IEEE fosters technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity at

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