IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC)
Technology for the Benefit of Humanity // Villanova University, USA / October 23-26, 2024

Special Sessions

Sessions Index
Friday Interactive Sessions: B1 / B2 / B3 / B4-1 / B4-2 / B5-1 / B5-2
Friday Special Sessions: C1 / C2 / C3 / C4 / C5 (IEEE SIGHT Workshop)
Saturday Special Sessions: Borriello Symposium (Plenary) / E1 / E2 / E3 / E4 (Posters)



Interactive Sessions

October 09, 2015 (Friday)
1:30pm – 3:30pm

Interactive sessions have been added to this year’s program to fulfill our goal of creating a conference where practitioners, researchers and engineers can meet, interact and learn from one another as we seek to create the future of humanitarian technology together.

These Sessions are track specific and may include panels, small group discussions, hot topics or other themes to engage discussion. In addition, these session will feature track specific posters showcasing authors seeking to engage with participants on their developing ideas. We hope you find this new addition invigorating and productive! Be ready to participate and share your ideas!

Time Room Session: Track Topic Session Leaders
1:30pm – 3:30pm Northwest 1 Session B1: Energy Dr. Alan Mickelson
Adil Usman
1:30pm – 3:30pm Northwest 2 Session B2: Health Dr. Maria Lemos
Dr. Miriam Orcutt
Luke Davies
1:30pm – 3:30pm Northwest 3 Section B3: Connectivity & Communication James Miller
1:30pm – 3:30pm Evergreen 1 Session B4-1: Humanitarian Challenges & Opportunities Adam Widera
Robin Mays
1:30pm – 3:30pm Evergreen 2 Session B4-2: Disaster Management Prof. Mark Haselkorn
Ian O’Donnell
1:30pm – 3:30pm Evergreen 3 Session B5-1: Education Prof. Jennifer Turns
Sian Platt
1:30pm – 3:30pm Evergreen 4 Session B5-2: Water, Sanitation, & Agriculture Dennis Kalson

 Special Sessions


October 09, 2015 (Friday)

Special Session C1

4:00pm – 6:00pm   ROOM NORTHWEST 1

Session C1-1: Demo (4:00pm to 4:45pm)

Mobile-phone Based Optical Microscopy and Machine Learning Platform for Rapid Detection and Quantification of Waterborne Pathogens in Low resource Settings

Hatice Ceylan Koydemir, Zoltan Gorocs, Derek Tseng, Bingen Cortazar, Steve Feng, Raymond Yan Lok Chan, Jordi Burbano, Euan McLeod, Aydogan Ozcan (University of California, Los Angeles)

We present a cost-effective and field-portable water analysis platform that is composed of a disposable sample cartridge, a smartphone based fluorescence microscope, and a custom designed Windows based smart-application and machine-learning interface, termed as GiardiaAnalyzer, for automated detection and enumeration of waterborne pathogens (Giardia lamblia cysts) in resource-limited-settings. In this light-weight platform (~205g), a custom designed 3D printed opto-mechanical attachment that holds an external lens, light-emitting-diodes, and excitation/emission filters forms our handheld fluorescence microscope together with the smartphone camera. The disposable sample cartridge includes a porous filter membrane to mechanically capture the fluorescently labeled cysts and a waste-reservoir to filter large volumes of water (e.g., >10-20mL). The fluorescent image of this membrane is captured using our mobile-phone microscope and wirelessly sent to our servers for digital quantification of the captured cysts using a machine-learning algorithm. The result of this automatic analysis/enumeration is sent back to the same smartphone interface, GiardiaAnalyzer. Using this platform, the total time to get the results is ~1 hour including the sample collection, labeling, filtration, detection, and digital counting steps. Our experiments demonstrated that this platform has an average cyst capture efficiency of ~79%, with a sensitivity of ~84%, resulting in a limit-of-detection of ~1.2 cysts/mL.

Session C1-2: Panel (4:45pm to 6:00pm)

Humanitarian Aspects of the Internet of Things (IoT)

Thomas Coughlin (Coughlin Associates), Soumya Kanti Datta (EURECOM France)

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a novel paradigm and is shaping the evolution of the future Internet. This will accelerate innovation by creating the means for machines to communicate several types of information among themselves and collaborate with peers to provide novel services. The IoT will empower consumers with better home automation, improved healthcare, intelligent transportation solutions and many more important services. The IoT initiatives and activities are mainly concentrated on architectures and protocols for efficient interconnection of heterogeneous objects and the creation of value-added services. But IoT can also be applied to achieve humanitarian goals such as (i) reducing waste of water in smart cities and (ii) smart agriculture and more. The primary goal of this panel is to bring together experts from various sectors of IoT to discuss how such technologies can be used to solve societal challenges and achieve humanitarian goals.
Following are some suggested topics:

• Energy efficient IoT systems, energy management in smart homes
• IoT & wearables for medical technology, mobile care, assisted living in smart homes
• Clean water and waste management
• Smart agriculture and irrigation
• Other humanitarian perspectives

The panelists will present their views on several of the above topics in PowerPoint presentations and a Q/A session will follow with the audience.

October 09, 2015 (Friday)

Special Session C2

4:00pm – 6:00pm   ROOM NORTHWEST 2

Session C2-1: Workshop (5:15pm to 6:00pm)

Systems-Based Design for a Humanitarian Centered Scientific Method

Kendra Krueger (Vesica Pi Labs LLC)

Creating technology for the benefit of humanity requires an intentional scientific method. The intentional process involves identifying motivating factors and defining what it means to be humanitarian. Identifying intentions is a necessary step in having a transparent and authentic process. This method builds upon the classical foundations of “observe, question, hypothesize, test, and analyze” to more appropriately address social, humanitarian and ecological crises with intention. The approach integrates technical design practices and compassionate awareness into a systems-based thinking scheme. The workshop will be an interactive discussion to explore this concept and learn tools for educating teams that are developing technology for the benefit of humanity. Principles based on sustainable and ethical design practices such as biomimicry and permaculture will be presented. We will ask questions such as: “How can developers be social allies when facing a problem outside of their home community?”, “What is the definition of an appropriate technology?”, “How can a technology move beyond sustainable and become regenerative?”. Attendees will participate in an active discussion and break out into smaller groups to tackle hypothetical mini-challenges. The workshop will emphasize a dialogue-over-debate structure and introduce facilitation tools for development teams.

Session C2-2: Workshop (4:00pm to 5:15pm)

50.2 Kigali Lessons for Humanitarian Engineering

Daniel Wessner (Posner Center)

This session previews a 50.2 video (50 minutes + 2 points) designed to draw IEEE members into the world of humanitarian engineering via a post-genocide Kigali, Rwanda engineering project on urban infrastructure, housing, and water management. Here engineers play a critical role within an integrated team of Rwandan and North American development practitioners of a dozen disciplines. GHTC participants are asked to serve as a Focus Group critically viewing and helping improve this 50.2 video before it is shared more widely.

October 09, 2015 (Friday)

Special Session C3

4:00pm – 6:00pm   ROOM NORTHWEST 3

Session C3-1: Workshop (4:00pm to 5:00pm)


Determining What Constitutes an “Underdeveloped Country” for Targeting Global Humanitarian Efforts: The Advancement of Science Approach

Bernard Cohen (MSOE University & Neurological Monitoring Associates, LLC)

Participants in a Global Humanitarian Conference all come to the table with preconceived ideas of what the needs of the world are. Do we base our assessments on cost of living, level of poverty, amount of uncontrolled disease, lack of basic necessities, poverty levels, distribution of wealth or a plethora of other criteria? The answer, of course might be all of the above. And just maybe, it is none of the above. This presentation will show evidence of yet another method of assessing what constitutes an “underdeveloped country” and how we might consider placing our efforts, energies and economic support. The author proposes that a measure (non-exclusive) of a country’s global humanitarian needs can be found in its scientific productivity, even measured in terms of publications in the scientific literature. This thesis will explore the economic complex measures of level of needs and demonstrate how simple assessments may provide sufficient support and motivation for direction of support efforts. This possibly unique assessment can assist those in their evaluation efforts to help determine the needs of an area, city or country. A concrete example of the authors own experience and efforts will be presented and analyzed.

Session C3-2: Case Study (5:00pm to 6:00pm)

EU Research and Innovation Framework Programme for mHealth in Africa

Paul Cunningham (IIMC International Information Management Corporation Ltd)

This session will focus on sharing insight into and providing an opportunity for interactive discussion about good practices associated with implementing mHealth interventions in Africa. Having provided a context by providing an overview of current applied ICT research and innovation capacity in IST-Africa partner countries, this session will focus on sharing insight into the co-design of mHealth4Afrika, which recently secured grant funding from the European Commission under Horizon 2020 (EU Research and Innovation Framework Programme). mHealth4Afrika (November 2015 – 2019) will research and evaluate the potential impact of co-designing an innovative, open source, multilingual and multi-modal mHealth platform on the quality of community based maternal and newborn healthcare delivery in Southern Africa (Malawi, South Africa), East Africa (Kenya) and Horn of Africa (Ethiopia). Based on lessons learnt since 2002, this session will discuss what was involved in building consensus for this cross-border strategic intervention driven and informed by local requirements.

IST-Africa ( is a strategic partnership with Ministries and National Councils responsible for Innovation, Science and Technology adoption, implementation, policy and research in 18 African countries. Founded in 2002, IST-Africa is supported by the European Commission and African Union Commission and has been co-funded under the European Research and Innovation Framework Programme since 2005.

October 9, 2015 (Friday)

Special Session C4

4:00pm – 6:00pm   ROOM EVERGREEN 1-2

Session C4-1: X-Track (4:00pm to 5:00pm)

The “X-Track” session is scheduled in the program as an open period without specific content prescribed. Each year, this track allows discussions to develop at the conference and form into interactive discussions, town halls, strategic planning meetings, etc. Please see Nathan Johnson if you have a group interested in using this space, and a leader to guide the discussion of your choice.

Session C4-2: Documentary (5:00pm to 6:00pm)

Screening and Meet A Filmmaker: The Human Element

Alexander J. Moseson (Drexel University)

The people of the mountains of Thailand are filled with joy, pride, beauty…and pain. Well-meaning American experts try to fix planting and water problems, but are humbled and transformed by working alongside their Thai partners. Come discover the human element through this exciting, honest, professionally produced 40-minute short documentary. Editor and producer Jocelyn Motter applies her experience on Discovery Channel series and major motion picture trailers, Alex Moseson brings a decade of humanitarian engineering experience to bear, and Eric Teti lends his award-winning cinematography.

Watch the film and engage one of the filmmakers in candid Q&A. The first 20 attendees will receive a gift from Thailand!

See the trailer here:

 IEEE SIGHT logo small

October 9, 2015 (Friday)

Special Session C5: IEEE SIGHT Workshop

4:00pm – 6:00pm   ROOM EVERGREEN 3-4

Session C5: IEEE SIGHT Workshop on Creating Local Impact – Open to all GHTC Attendees

This workshop aims to discuss ideas on how engineers can engage themselves and their local peers in helping the community using technology. SIGHT is a global community of locally-focused engineers who inspire, enable, and connect with their peers and partners to solve local problems by deploying, developing, demonstrating, educating or advocating engineering and technology based solutions. 70+ SIGHTs in 22 countries are working on activities and projects in the fields of education, communication, energy, health and assistive technology. In 2014, this community engaged 1400+ engineers benefiting 10,000+ people through projects and activities in the areas such as education, energy, health, and assistive technologies. We will discuss the work and vision of some these groups and brainstorm on the challenges and opportunities we have in collaborating with communities.

Facilitators: Kartik Kulkarni, Chair, IEEE SIGHT Steering Committee
Jackie Halliday, Humanitarian Activities, IEEE
Sheree Wen, Chair, IEEE Seattle Section; Vice Chair, GHTC 2015

Presenter Bios:

Kartik works for Oracle Corporation’s Data and In-memory Technology Group in Redwood City, USA. In 2009, Kartik led his team winning IEEE Presidents’ Change the World Competition for the project – Electronic Aids for physically and mentally challenged children. Kartik believes that IEEE can be a strong global taskforce of volunteers committed to championing technology solutions for development and solving community problems. This taskforce if oriented and channeled could produce local community leaders in important efforts such as activism, awareness, advocacy, and deployment of technology based solutions.

Dr. Sheree Wen is U.S. national commissioner to UNESCO; Chair, IEEE Seattle Section and Vice Chair, GHTC 2015. See her bio here.

Jackie Halliday is a Program Coordinator for Humanitarian Activities at IEEE in New Jersey.


October 10, 2015 (Saturday)

Special Session E1: IEEE Smart Village

4:00pm – 6:00pm   ROOM NORTHWEST 1

Session E1-1: Workshop (4:00pm to 5:00pm)

IEEE Smart Village – Energy, Education, and Empowerment

Ray Larson (Stanford University), Daniel Wessner (Posner Center), Robin Podmore (IncSys)

The key goal of IEEE Smart Village is to seed community owned and operated micro-utility businesses, plus offer enhanced community based online education, both technical and general, to build up economic and social sustainability capacity within each community. The vision is to reach thousands of off-grid villages and tens of millions of people. This session will describe the key components of the model, accomplishments to date and plans for the future including NGO partnerships to build out holistic and lasting solutions. IEEE Smart Village is a Signature Program of IEEE Foundation with current initiatives in Haiti, Cameroon, Nigeria, South Sudan, Zambia, Malawi, Namibia and India.

Session E1-2: Workshop (5:00pm to 6:00pm)

Get an Idea Ready to Scale

Dan McClure (ThoughtWorks), Ian Gray (Gray Dot Catalyst)

Is your Pilot stuck? On any given day there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of successful pilot programs anxious to Scale Up. Yet, disappointingly few ever do. One of the big barriers to making this transition is the variety of complex elements that need to be added into a Pilot before it can become a sustainable solution. Few innovators are ready for the diverse challenges of completing their solution, removing compromises, building connections and finding a way to meet financial needs. In this workshop we’ll take some great Pilot ideas and tear them apart and then add in the parts needed for the Scale Up journey.

October 10, 2015 (Saturday)

Special Session E2

4:00pm – 6:00pm   ROOM NORTHWEST 2

Session E2-1: Workshop (4:00pm to 5:30pm)


Design and Characterization of a Biomimetic Peristaltic Fecal Sludge Transport Device that Moves Waste Nature’s Way

Roger Johnson (Eidon LLC)

The conveyance of fecal waste is at the heart of most sanitation processes. Current designs do not offer great solutions for transporting sludge without extensive dilution or drying. In contrast, the peristaltic action of intestines moves high-solid sludge through narrow tubes without dilution, high pressures or excessive energy. Inspired by nature’s method we invented a pneumatically driven, infinitely activated, peristaltic tube able to move sludge like an external intestine. During the peristaltic process sludge is separated into boluses that are individually displaced by traveling constrictions along the entire tube. This avoids high head pressures normally caused by continuous liquid columns. Movement of non-diluted sludge eliminates the need for dilution water and the costs incurred by the combined waste. A prototype made of simple heat welded membranes demonstrates feasibility. A peristaltic tube the size of our intestine uses just one square meter of membrane per meter of tube length, resulting in a low cost, light weight, flexible pumping device. It is powered with 5-10 psi air that can be generated by human operated bellows. Empirical comparisons with conventional pump head pressures and flow rates are made for a spectrum of waste sludges. Application to waterless toilets, biogas digesters, deep water pumps, pit emptying, well drilling and concrete pumping are discussed.


Session E2-2: Case Study (5:30pm to 6:00pm)

The Crimean Crisis of 2014: Mobile communications challenges and insights

Paul Gardner-Stephen, Romana Challans, Jeremy Lakeman, Andrew Bettison (Flinders University)

The Ukraine crisis and annexure of the Crimea by Russia, and ensuring humanitarian disaster have been well documented in various places. The Serval Mesh, completely decentralized and encrypted an infrastructure independent communications system for mobile telephones saw a spike of installs during the crisis. Until now we could only speculate on what usage, if any, the Serval Mesh saw in that situation. However, this changed when we received correspondence suggesting that the Serval Mesh was actively used in Ukraine to provide local communications in areas where Russian or rebel forces apparently jammed cellular service, or used long range radio emissions between cell phones and cellular towers to determine the location of government forces. In this situation we see the unfortunately common situation where the local population following a man-made disaster are deprived of the ability to communicate, but in this case the provision of our Serval Mesh technology — despite its numerous imperfections — was able to help address this need until international support arrived. These events raise interesting questions and points of discussion around how to best provide for the immediate communications needs of populations affected by disasters of any kind, and how academia, industry and the non-profit/humanitarian sector might be able to work to address those needs. It is our desire to invite and facilitate such a discussion at this years GHTC.


October 10, 2015 (Saturday)


Special Session E3: X-Track

4:00pm – 6:00pm   ROOM EVERGREEN 1-2


The “X-Track” session is scheduled in the program as an open period without specific content prescribed. Each year, this track allows discussions to develop at the conference and form into interactive discussions, town halls, strategic planning meetings, etc. Please see Nathan Johnson if you have a group interested in using this space, and a leader to guide the discussion of your choice.


October 10, 2015 (Saturday)


Session E4: Invited Poster Presentations

4:00pm – 6:00pm   ROOM EVERGREEN 3-4


Session Chair: Suryadip Chakraborty


ID Title Author Names Subject Area
1570111079 Adapting an Alternative Low-cost Water Chlorination System for Third World Countries Jeremiah Medina, David White, Danford Jooste, Karly Jerman, Jeremy Hagen, Truc T. Ngo (University of San Diego) Water & Sanitation
1570120253 Service-Learning Integration in Undergraduate Materials Engineering Courses Jill Manapat (University of the Philippines, Diliman) Education
1570132749 PTS&D (Peace, Technology, Science & Development): Fostering Humanitarian Success through Policy Oriented Science and Technology Development Volker Franke (Kennesaw State University), Graham Gintz (Independent Researcher) Humanitarian Challenges & Opportunities
1570133309 Modular Medium-Scale Solar Water Purification System Ernesto Chan, Ishant Desai, Ethiopia Haileyesus, Cassidy Green, Susan Newton, Tim Gilmour, Junseok Song (John Brown University) Energy; Water
1570133937 Verifying LifePump with Remote Data Loggers Greg Bixler (Design Outreach & The Ohio State University) Connectivity & Communication
1570134015 Early Years in the Renewable Energy Engineering Program: Implementation Strategies and Outcomes Edgar Valenzuela, Pedro Rosales, Alejandro Lambert, Alejandro Suastegui, Marlene Zamora (Universidad Autonoma de Estado de Baja California) Energy; Education
1570134107 An Indirect Solar Cooking System Stephen Nuchia (Dell Inc.) Energy
1570134277 Catalyzing Innovation: Accelovate’s Design Challenge Model Nathaniel Moller, Elizabeth Hurwitz, Deepti Tanuku (Jhpiego) Humanitarian Challenges & Opportunities
1570134327 Barriers in Implementing Sustainable Initiatives in the Educational Institutions Pradeep Vankayala, Fnu Diwakar Krishnappa (University of Houston-Clear Lake) Education
1570134555 Designing Technologies with End-Users in Low-Resource Contexts: A Review of Literature Matthew Vedrin (University of Michigan) Education
1570134627 Analysis of Maximum Power Point Tracking Algorithms for Use on Low-Cost Microcontrollers Zachary Lee, Kyle Crouse, John Zumbro, Junseok Song (John Brown University) Energy