Humanitarian Advancement Through Technology June 1 - 4 th, 2014

Workshop-4 D3.4



Project:  Nicaragua Tele-Health Project

Presenter:  Dr. Pritpal Singh


Villanova’s Mobile Health project has been running since January 2010 and is a collaborative project between students and professors from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, College of Nursing and Villanova School of Business. The project has been based in Waslala, Nicaragua and begain with an initial site assessment in May 2010. Training of community health workers (CHW’s) began in October 2010 with an initial cohort of 5 CHW’s. Since that time, we have had the involvement of over 100 students, seven faculty members both from Villanova and from our partner institutions in Nicaragua. The number of CHW’s trained in our program has grown to 95 and we are now operating in two locations in Nicaragua. We have overcome a number of technical problems, changes in personnel and organizational issues in getting to where we are now. The strong partnerships with the Nursing program at Matagalpa’s branch campus of Universidad Nacional Autonomous de Nicaragua (UNAN) and the electronic engineering and computer engineering programs at the Universidad Nacional de Ingenieria (UNI), the continued support from Claro, the main cell phone service provider in Nicaragua and a second influx of funding from Halloran Philanthropies, have been critical to the growth of the program. In this workshop Dr. Pritpal Singh, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Villanova University will present details on the development of this project.


Dr. Pritpal Singh is Professor and Chairman of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Villanova University.  He received a BSc in Physics from the University of Birmingham, UK in 1978, and Masters and Ph.D. degrees in Applied Sciences/Electrical Engineering from the University of Delaware in 1981 and 1984, respectively. Dr. Singh teaches courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels in the areas of semiconductor microelectronics, renewable energy systems and power electronics. He has been working on thin film solar cell research since 1979 including a Sabbatical Leave at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in 1993. He has also worked on several photovoltaic system projects

Dr. Singh has also worked on electric vehicle research, working on battery monitoring and management systems funded primarily by federal agencies (over $3.5 million of funding).

Dr. Singh has consulted for several companies including Ford Motor Company and Epuron, LLC. He has also served as a reviewer for the US Department of Energy and National Science Foundation. Dr Singh has over 100 conference and journal publications and holds six issued US patents.

Dr. Singh’s recent work is focused on improved, energy efficient devices and systems for use in rural health clinics in developing countries.


VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

Project: OS-ARIS: An Open Source Avalanche Rescue Imaging System

Presenter Dr. Kin Y. Sze


With the advent of a seemingly inevitable climate change, snow avalanches are occurring more and more frequently due to mountain snowpacks being easily destabilized by the extreme swings in temperatures and other climatic parameters.  Thus, the main objective of this humanitarian project initiative is to improve and adapt a low-cost frequency modulated continuous wave (FMCW) radar imaging system [1] from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Open Course Ware (MIT OCW) to function as a compact, real-time, radar imaging system for snow avalanche search and rescue operations.  In the process, the on-going adaptation design will be made available as an open source design, in accordance with the Creative Commons License requirements of the MIT OCW [2].

As a humanitarian technology initiative, this radar imaging project certainly falls within the scope of utilizing technology in support of relief assistance during a natural or man-made disaster.  This initiative is inline with the scope, regardless of whether the stricken area is impoverished or wealthy, for as long as one or more human lives are at stake because of the disaster.

The primary focus of this project is, therefore, to implement and deploy the technology at minimal costs, rather than to carry out an expensive research and development effort.  However, if a need arises for a particular technical issue to be resolved, and if there is no solution presently available in academia or industry, then research and development activities may be pursued.

In addition, as a type of ground penetrating radar, it may also be further adapted for use in other buried-victim search and rescue operations, especially, in landslide and collapsed-building emergencies.  Expanding this concept a step further, it may also be adapted for use in fire rescue efforts where visibility due to smoke is poor.  Such projects may be code-named as OS-DRIS (debris rescue), and OS-FRIS (fire rescue), respectively.


[1]  Gregory L. Charvat, Jonathan H. Williams, Alan J. Fenn, Steve Kogon, and Jeffrey S. Herd. RES.LL-003 Build a Small Radar System Capable of Sensing Range, Doppler, and Synthetic Aperture Radar Imaging, January IAP 2011. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT Open Course Ware), (Accessed 23 Mar, 2013). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

[2]  Creative Commons License. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT Open Course Ware), (Accessed 23 March, 2013).



Kin Y. Sze received the B.S.E.E. degree (cum laude) from the University of Missouri-Rolla, USA, in 1989, the M.S.E.E. degree from the Ohio State University, USA, in 1991, and the Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Manitoba, Canada, in 2001. He is currently a Lead Engineer in the Electromagnetic Systems Group at the Quality Engineering Test Establishment (QETE), Gatineau, Quebec, Canada.

Dr. Sze is formerly with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of the University of Manitoba, as a Research Assistant as well as a Teaching Assistant. While there, he worked on the analysis and design of conformal, high-gain, microstrip reflectarray antennas for DBS and LMDS applications. Prior to that, he worked as a Graduate Research Assistant at the ElectroScience Laboratory of the Ohio State University, where he was involved in a NASA-sponsored project on the development of the Helicopter Antenna Radiation Prediction (HARP) Code, a comprehensive, integrated software package for analyzing the far-field radiation and scattering phenomena of an antenna mounted on a helicopter.

From 2001 to 2003, Dr. Sze was with EMAG Technologies, Inc., USA, as a Senior Research Engineer. While there, he worked on the development and parallelization of software packages for computer aided design of printed circuit and antenna systems. Additionally, he was the principal investigator for three US DoD-funded SBIR projects. From 2004 to 2009, he was a Technical Consultant to the Defence R & D Canada Ottawa (DRDC-Ottawa), Canada, through nEW Technologies, Inc., where he worked on projects involving high-frequency EM techniques, including investigating the RCS characteristics of electrically large complex structures. He was also the owner of Cephustec Applied Technologies, a technical consulting company in Ottawa, Canada, from 2004 through 2009.

Dr. Sze received several graduate student travel awards while he was at the University of Manitoba. He had published numerous technical papers in his areas of expertise. He is a member of Tau Beta Pi, Eta Kappa Nu and Kappa Mu Epsilon honor societies, and is also a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) as well.




Project:  A wearable light to be used by medical personnel in rural communities

Presenter: Amanda DelCore


This presentation will describe a wearable light to be used by medical personnel in rural communities that lack electricity. The design features the approach of building resilience into the headlamp design as a way to attain extreme durability and to reduce life cycle impacts, which is extremely important for sustaining technology in developing countries. A working prototype was constructed in Nicaragua in 2011. Another working prototype was constructed in the United States in 2014, which incorporated learnings from the Nicaraguan prototype. The focus of the presented paper is to describe a prototype solar headlamp, and propose the use of open-source method to evolve the headlamp technology for a global audience.


Amanda DelCore is a graduate of Villanova University in Villanova, PA. She received a Bachelor’s in Physics and a minor in Engineering in 2008, and a Masters in Sustainable Engineering in 2012. Amanda spent three months in Nicaragua to design and implement a sustainable solar headlamp as part of her Masters thesis project, and continued to develop the solar headlamp after graduating. Amanda is currently working as an environmental consultant at ERM, Inc.