IEEE HAC COVID-19 Projects

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the world in an unprecedented manner, and as such, earlier this year HAC created a joint call with IEEE SIGHT (Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology) Projects to support grassroots humanitarian technology and sustainable development projects that addressed the COVID-19 situation by IEEE members in their local communities. HAC/SIGHT received over 110 applications and funded over 70 projects from 25 countries and 5 IEEE Regions. In addition, HAC/SIGHT are providing ongoing support to these projects through Communities of Practice (CoPs) around common thematic areas, such as medical devices and ICT, to increase project impact, as well as member engagement and professional development.

In 2020, IEEE HAC Global have provided US$ 307,799 to 73 IEEE HAC projects against COVID-19 across 25 countries.

Click to access more information about IEEE HAC COVID-19 project funding

IEEE HAC COVID-19 projects approved across Latin America and the Caribbean

In 2020, the IEEE HAC Global have provided US$ 81,240 as IEEE HAC funding to implement 17 HAC COVID-19 projects across 10 countries (13 IEEE Sections) in the IEEE Region 9 (Latin America and the Caribbean) based on IEEE volunteer proposals according the following map and table:

R9 project numberProject nameType of ProjectIEEE SectionCountryIEEE RegionHackTech COVID project *Funding Awarded
17Developing Technical Skills of communities to boost medical artifacts manufacturing against COVID-19PPE/Community SensitizationIEEE Guadalajara SectionMexicoR9NoUS$ 3,050.00
16Sensitizing, Training and PPE-Making against COVID-19 for Venezuelan Migrants & Returned ColombiansPPE (Personal Protection Equipment)/Community SensitizationIEEE Colombia Section (IEEE Colombia SIGHT)ColombiaR9NoUS$ 5,000.00
15Distance Education Program Adapted to COVID-19ICT (Information and Communications Technology)IEEE Guatemala SectionGuatemalaR9NoUS$ 5,000.00
14DisTree. Protection device for Medical staff in COVID-19 pandemicInfection Control DeviceIEEE Argentina SectionArgentinaR9YesUS$ 4,979.00
13Design and Construction of Face Shields for Small Business Owners and PeddlersPPE (Personal Protection Equipment)/Community SensitizationIEEE Morelos Section (IEEE CIS & RAS Morelos Chapter)MexicoR9NoUS$4,951.00
12Low-Cost Ventilator Ara Plus: Emergency Response Against COVID-19Medical DeviceIEEE South Brazil Section (Jt.Chap. Energy Industry Connections)BrazilR9NoUS$4,998.00
11Mechatronic Ambulatory Medical Breathing UnitMedical DeviceIEEE Bolivia SectionBoliviaR9YesUS$4,996.00
10Growing and Nurturing Cazucá TogetherFood SecurityIEEE Colombia Section (Colombia SIGHT)ColombiaR9NoUS$4,996.00
9APOLLO-ULSA Ventilator to Serve COVID-19 Affected Patients in NicaraguaMedical DeviceIEEE Nicaragua Section, IEEE Electron Devices Society EDS Nicaragua ChapterNicaraguaR9NoUS$5,000.00
8UV-A LED arrays and photocatalytic TiO2 coatings on protective screens for SARS-Cov-2 inactivationInfection Control DeviceIEEE Puebla SectionMexicoR9NoUS$5,000.00
73D Face Shield for Medical and Auxiliary StaffPPE (Personal Protection Equipment)/Community SensitizationIEEE El Salvador Section (Centroamericana Univ Jose Simeon Canas (STB53001))El SalvadorR9NoUS$4,716.00
6SIAMA - Intelligent system to identify, report, analyze, monitor and assist ICT (Information and Communications Technology)IEEE Peru SectionPeruR9YesUS$4,820.00
5Engineers Assisting Ventilator MaintenanceMedical DeviceIEEE Rio de Janeiro SectionBrazilR9NoUS$5,000.00
4Digital Literacy Program in the Galapagos IslandsICT (Information and Communications Technology)IEEE Ecuador Section (IEEE ESPOL Student Branch)EcuadorR9NoUS$5,000.00
3OxiGenMedical DeviceIEEE Peru Section (Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru Student Branch)PeruR9YesUS$4,998.00
2Pneuma (Mechanical Ventilator + App)Medical DeviceIEEE Colombia SectionColombiaR9YesUS$3,914.00
1Non-Invasive Portable Artificial Respirator (NIPAR)Medical DeviceIEEE El Salvador Section (IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Chapter)El SalvadorR9NoUS$4,822.00

* The IEEE HackTech COVID is an new IEEE R9 initiative driven by R9 YP (Young Professionals)  and R9 SIGHT (Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology). Also, IEEE HackTech COVID was an 48h online hackathon (April 17-19, 2020) that seeks to generate technology-based solutions that contribute to solving the health, social and economic crisis caused by COVID19.

Click to access more information about IEEE HackTech COVID

IEEE HAC COVID-19 project overview

You can know more about IEEE HAC COVID-19 projects across IEEE Region 9 according the following information:

1) Andean Council

Foundation: June 23th, 2001
Sections: Bolivia, Colombia, Colombia Caribbean, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela and the Caribbean.

1.1) Project name: Digital Literacy Program in the Galapagos Islands

Type of project: ICT
IEEE Section: IEEE Ecuador Section (IEEE ESPOL Student Branch)
Country: Ecuador
Funding Awarded: US$5,000.00

Brief Description:
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Galapagos Islands are facing major difficulties due to travel restrictions which affect tourism and education. The school year in the Galapagos Islands was supposed to start in early April, but now it is uncertain when schools will re-open and parents are concerned about their children’s education. The educational system in the Galapagos Islands is very limited due to a lack of connectivity and resources, including qualified teachers and access to computers. The project team, which has already been working in the Islands and established a community intranet on the island of San Cristobal, will develop an online digital literacy program to a core group of about thirty technically savvy students to help teach basic programming and digital application virtually to other students and community members. IEEE volunteers will serve as mentors and facilitators to support the students in the educational program as well as content developers and deliverers. Project funds will be used to provide computers, Internet access and supplies needed for the project.

1.2) Project name: Mechatronic Ambulatory Medical Breathing Unit

Type of project: Medical Device
IEEE Section: IEEE Bolivia Section
Country: Bolivia
Funding Awarded: US$4,996.00

Brief Description:
MAMBU – which stands for Mechatronic Ambulatory Medical Breathing Unit – is, essentially, a medical device that allows to automatically control breathing-related variables by implementing mechanical ventilators principles and a self-inflatable bag. Controllable ventilation parameters include volume, breathing frequency, I:E relation, PEEP pressure and FIO2, having also the possibility to monitor these variables through IoT. The mechanical actuation is based on a simple, but effective gear crank mechanism supported by stepper DC motors that achieve fast recovery once the bag is pressed. The electromechanical components are operated by embedded microcontrollers which also oversee the entire human-machine interface through buttons and switches. The device is thought to be used by specialized medical personal only, however, current work is focused on defining specific parameters to ease configuration. The structure consists of stacked and painted MDF manufactured by laser to ensure precise dimensions and fast manufacturing times. Initial steps for medical validation were taken, however, to be able to distribute locally the device, other requirements and registrations must be met.

1.3) Project name: OxiGen

Type of project: Medical Device
IEEE Section: IEEE Peru Section (Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru Student Branch)
Country: Peru
Funding Awarded: US$4,998.00

Brief Description:
This project will develop a device to take air from the environment, filter it, compress it without oil, and extract the nitrogen to obtain oxygen using a pressure change adsorption process with zeolite columns. In addition, the system has an oxygen sensor to monitor the purity of the oxygen before its distribution to the patient or tanks. The medicinal oxygen produced in just fifteen days will have the quality required for an oxygen concentrator by the World Health Organization, a flow rate five times higher than commercial products, the quantity to supply up to ten mechanical ventilators at a time, and a price three times lower then similar systems.
Stipulation: HAC funds may only be used to support the construction of the device prototype. Funds may not be used for tests on people or mass production and deployment. Medical device manufacturing and deployment are highly regulated fields and require partnership with and approval by relevant national/federal, state, and/or local authorities.

1.4) Project name: SIAMA – Intelligent system to identify, report, analyze, monitor and assist

Type of project: ICT
IEEE Section: IEEE Peru Section
Country: Peru
Funding Awarded: US$4,820.00

Brief Description:
Peru has made use of technological tools to improve the diagnosis, monitoring, and recognition of cases. It also has helplines to provide general medical assistance and identify cases. However, the diagnostic capacity is saturated, the number of cases is still on the rise, the follow-up of patients is not optimal, and the tracing of contacts isn’t as efficient as expected.
SIAMA seeks to solve the problem by optimizing the information provided and monitoring positive COVID patients in different phases of their care. The proposal is to use an intelligent system that offers reliable information to the healthy population, tracks diagnostic test results of suspected cases, and monitors confirmed COVID-19 cases, to promote isolation at home and ensure the health of both the population and the first containment line (healthcare personnel, armed and police forces). SIAMA will include a kit (thermometer, NFC sticker, and oximeter) and a multisystem platform (functioning with four modules) that will work with a voice assistant (smartphone or Google Home). The identification module will allow us to know the state of the patient (healthy, infected, recovered) by using the NFC sticker. The information module will provide daily news (national and international). The registration and monitoring modules will work in coordination with healthcare personnel, who, through the developed platform, will facilitate the assessment of the patient’s condition and assist in their recovery through questions from home.

1.5) Project name: Pneuma (Mechanical Ventilator + App)

Type of project: Medical Device
IEEE Section: IEEE Colombia Section
Country: Colombia
Funding Awarded: US$3,914.00

Brief Description:
This project intends to diminish the incidence and mortality generated by the COVID-19 outbreak in Colombia by offering a fast and inexpensive real-time monitoring system composed of a non-invasive artificial ventilator and a mobile application to record and display the physiological variables of the patient using the mechanical ventilator. These include blood pressure, breaths per minute, volume of air flow, inspiration and expiration rate, and others.
Stipulation: HAC funds may only be used to support the construction of the device prototype. Funds may not be used for tests on people or mass production and deployment. Medical device manufacturing and deployment are highly regulated fields and require partnership with and approval by relevant national/federal, state, and/or local authorities.”

1.6) Project name: Sensitizing, Training and PPE-Making against COVID-19 for Venezuelan Migrants & Returned Colombians

Type of project: PPE/Community Sensitization
IEEE Section: IEEE Colombia Section (IEEE Colombia SIGHT)
Country: Colombia
Funding Awarded: US$5,000.00

Brief Description:
This project serves a vulnerable sector of the border between Colombia and Venezuela; located on the suburbs of Villa del Rosario, Norte de Santander, Colombia; and made up of families living in poverty conditions, Venezuelan migrants and returned Colombians who have been victims of violence or who migrated due to the socio-economic crisis that Venezuela is going through. Additionally, the majority of families in this community live from day to day, that is, they do not have formal employments that guarantee social security or economic and job stability. Taking these living conditions into account, a large part of this population has seen themselves forced to leave their homes in search of their daily livelihood, in many cases failing to comply with the confinement and quarantine measures that the National and Local Government has issued within the framework of the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, there is a need to apply protection and prevention protocols that allow this community to reduce the risk of contagion when leaving their homes and, in turn, create awareness about their implementation.In accordance with the above, in this project we want to carry out a program that addresses two main aspects: the first is sensitivity and awareness of the importance of compliance with protocols and the use of personal protection elements (PPE) against COVID-19, especially when there is physical contact with other people outside the home; and the second is the training that involves the community in the production of their own PPEs such as face masks or face shields applying technologies such as: sublimation printing, 3D printing and CNC laser cutting.

1.7) Project name: Growing and Nurturing Cazucá Together

Type of project: Food Security
IEEE Section: IEEE Colombia Section (Colombia SIGHT)
Country: Colombia
Funding Awarded: US$4,996.00

Brief Description:
Due to the COVID -19 pandemic, Colombia has been suffering some critical affections in areas like social-economy, environment, and sanitation. In consequence, it is necessary to create different strategies to confront this contingency. According to the World Food Program, COVID-19 pandemic could now double the number of people who regularly go to bed hungry, putting an additional 130 million people at risk of suffering from acute hunger by the end of 2020. The main goal of this project is to build, guide, and accompany 25 families from Altos de Cazucá, Cundinamarca – Colombia, in the creation of their own urban farms with the purpose of auto-producing part of their own food, involving social, cultural, and technical aspects. We will be working with FUNDAPUCS (Partner Foundation) which is the entity that has direct contact with the families involved.
This community lives with resources scarcity, social exclusion, lack of essential services, rights violation, and lack of opportunities. All these factors allow the increment of misery belt and the undernourishment in the population; and with this in mind, our vision is to reduce negative effects by implementing urban farms, generating some financial relief, and creating learning opportunities that will help them to have a better quality of life. According to the space where each family lives, together, we will adjust a smart and innovative design to implement the urban farm, which involves sustainable development as a central concept from the reuse of organic and inorganic waste and the elaboration of agro-ecological products to fertilize and protect the farm. Likewise, the implementation of rainwater gathering systems and filtering for farm irrigation. In addition, families will have the opportunity to participate in technical workshops where they will be able to learn how to work as a group – which implies building better family relations and taking care of their own project.

2) Brazil Council

Foundation: March 23th, 1970
Sections: Bahia, Centro-Norte, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro and South Brazil.

2.1) Project name: Low-Cost Ventilator Ara Plus: Emergency Response Against COVID-19

Type of project: Medical Device
IEEE Section: IEEE South Brazil Section (Jt.Chap. Energy Industry Connections)
Country: Brazil
Funding Awarded: US$4,998.00

Brief Description:
This project is a contribution to alleviate the consequences of COVID-19 pandemic, since the treatment of critical patients requires hospitalization and intensive use of mechanical ventilation. It is observed in most regions of Brazil the saturation of public and private health systems. In the region of ABC Paulista, Southeast of São Paulo City comprehending about 3 million inhabitants (over 20 million inhab. in the great São Paulo), 70% of the hospital beds are already occupied due to the excess of patients affected by COVID-19.
Mechanical ventilators are among the most demanded equipment and in various countries it is noticed efforts to the acquisition of new equipment, the recuperation of damaged or obsolete ones, as well as low-cost emergency alternative equipment with fast production such as the one pursued by this project. Within the current scenario of logistic restrictions and big demand worldwide, a local alternative, with industrialized and local materials is shown as indispensable in order to save lives. Thus, the group of students and researchers from Federal University of ABC (UFABC) that are enrolled in this project are developing an automated ventilator based on manual resuscitators (AMBU bag), in an open platform, easy to assemble, with minimal cost of production. We are using components there are easy to find at the local market and that comply with minimum requirements of local guidelines presented by the regulations and standards. “

2.2) Project name: Engineers Assisting Ventilator Maintenance

Type of project: Medical Device
IEEE Section: IEEE Rio de Janeiro Section
Country: Brazil
Funding Awarded: US$5,000.00

Brief Description:
In Brazil, many lung ventilators are out of use due to a lack of maintenance and repair. This project will train volunteers to maintain and repair hospital machinery in the metropolitan region of Rio de Janeiro. In all stages of implementation, from online training and mentoring, to the repair of ventilators with maintenance partners, social isolation policies will be respected. This project has a built-in methodology for autonomy and the exchange of knowledge with ever-growing groups of volunteers in training, resulting in a large network of people trained to assist in the fight against COVID-19.
Stipulation: HAC funds may not be used for tests of medical equipment on people or mass production and deployment. Medical device manufacturing and deployment are highly regulated fields and require partnership with and approval by relevant national/federal, state, and/or local authorities.”

Click to read article on IEEE Spetrum

3) Capana Council

Foundation: May 24th, 1982
Sections: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama.

3.1) Project name: APOLLO-ULSA Ventilator to Serve COVID-19 Affected Patients in Nicaragua

Type of project: Medical Device
IEEE Section: IEEE Nicaragua Section, IEEE Electron Devices Society EDS Nicaragua Chapter
Country: Nicaragua
Funding Awarded: US$5,000.00

Brief Description:
The current health crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic has severely damaged the health care systems of under equipped third-world-country hospitals. In Nicaragua, there are currently about 300 functioning ventilators, and there are already many more severe COVID-19 cases than ventilators in the country. This is why a group of engineers from ULSA, a partner hospital, a team of medical practitioners, a partner university and many tech-driven experts have worked together on an initiative that would help the current health crisis in our country. ULSA, a university in Leon, Nicaragua, has recreated and modified the APOLLO BVM, an open-source ventilator model from Rice University. This model, described by Rice, is “an automated bag valve mask (BVM) device utilizing off-the-shelf components to provide safe and continuous hospital-grade mechanical ventilation for COVID-19 patients on an open-source basis”. The ULSA modified version has been named as the APOLLO-ULSA ventilator.

3.2) Project name: 3D Face Shield for Medical and Auxiliary Staff
PPE/Community Sensitization

IEEE El Salvador Section (Centroamericana Univ Jose Simeon Canas (STB53001))
Country: El Salvador
Funding Awarded: US$4,716.00

Brief Description:
The objective of the project is to manufacture personal protection visors for doctors and assistants, in the face of the pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus, making use of 3D printers available in El Salvador.

3.3) Project name: Distance Education Program Adapted to COVID-19

Type of project: ICT
IEEE Section: IEEE Guatemala Section
Country: Guatemala
Funding Awarded: US$5,000.00

Brief Description:
In Guatemala there is no clear date to start classes in schools again, for this reason we propose develop a pilot program of education adapted to COVID-19 with student from the fourth grade of primary (elementary) school of the Mixed Urban Official School “El Reformador” in the comunity Poptún, Petén, Guatemala. With which we will give access to technology and education to a group of children who have suspended school activities. The work plan will be carried out with two teachers from the school and an tablet with internet will be delivered to 28 students to receive academic content.

3.4) Project name: Non-Invasive Portable Artificial Respirator (NIPAR)

Type of project: Medical Device
IEEE Section: IEEE El Salvador Section (IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Chapter)
Country: El Salvador
Funding Awarded: US$4,822.00

Brief Description:
This project consists of researching and developing a non-invasive portable artificial respirator. The team will conduct an analysis of existing artificial breathing medical systems and equipment to determine what properties are essential for a portable equipment design. They will take into account the energy consumption for a prototype and consider various installation options – stationary vs. in ambulances.
Stipulation: HAC funds may only be used to support the construction of the device prototype. Funds may not be used for tests on people or mass production and deployment. Medical device manufacturing and deployment are highly regulated fields and require partnership with and approval by relevant national/federal, state, and/or local authorities.

4) Mexico Council

Foundation: 1977
Sections: Mexico, Monterrey, Morelos, Guadalajara, Guanajuato, Centro Occidente, Aguascalientes, Querétaro, Puebla and Veracruz.

4.1) Project name: Design and Construction of Face Shields for Small Business Owners and Peddlers

Type of project: PPE/Community Sensitization
IEEE Section: IEEE Morelos Section (IEEE CIS & RAS Morelos Chapter)
Country: Mexico
Funding Awarded: US$4,951.00

Brief Description:
Our project consists of an immediate solution to the complications that have been seen in this imminent return to the “”New Normal”” in many parts of our country.
For this main reason, we have developed a prototype of masks, which have a good quality, and at the same time their production is cheaper than that of conventional masks, relying on 3D printing technology and low cost materials. In this way, more prototypes can be built, and they can be taken to the areas that are most required, such as business and sales points (markets, stores, premises, vendors of any type of product or service) and thus ensure their health and well-being and at the same time, comply with the standards that are wanted to start with this “New normal” .”

4.2) Project name: UV-A LED arrays and photocatalytic TiO2 coatings on protective screens for SARS-Cov-2 inactivation

Type of project: Infection Control Device
IEEE Section: IEEE Puebla Section
Country: Mexico
Funding Awarded: US$5,000.00

Brief Description:
In this project, we will design and develop a large area folding screen that could be able to contain the cloud of coronavirus microdroplets expelled by an infected patient during coughing, talking or breathing, thus enabling the safe interaction with medical staff or his/her relatives if the patient is at home in quarantine. Even though this physical barrier could be easily disinfected everyday, the need for additional protection on its surfaces is required. Therefore, we propose the use of thin photocatalytic TiO2-based coatings in order to cover these screens and also, low power and safe UV-A light emitter diode arrays that could be used as a continuous illumination source able to photogenerate charge carriers and then, reactive oxygen species (ROS) in these photocatalytic coatings. After ROS generation, these protective screens would be able to inactivate several pathogens (including SARS-Cov-2 virions inside the microdroplets) by oxidative stress thus providing a safer environment to the medical staff and to the infected patient himself since a reduction in new infections or reinfections is expected. These photocatalytic screens will provide a safe place where a patient could cough, talk, or interact with other people while also serving as a physical barrier against the spread of coronaviruses by inactivating its virions of SARS-Cov-2.

4.3) Project name: Developing Technical Skills of communities to boost medical artifacts manufacturing against COVID-19

Type of project: PPE/Community Sensitization
IEEE Section: IEEE Guadalajara Section
Country: Mexico
Funding Awarded: US$3,050.00

Brief Description:
Covid-19 has further aggravated the shortage of medical supplies present in the country. Doctors have made a labored without adequate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) against a deadly and contagious virus, putting themselves and their families at risk. Every passing day, it becomes even harder for anyone to protect themselves because of shortage and overpricing of PPE. This project proposes a safe, durable and affordable solution, one that every University can partake in, by becoming manufacturers of PPE. However, our goal is to include the whole community, producing even greater numbers of protection devices. To reach this goal, the following setup is proposed: A printer is sent to an eligible University campus producing masks. Once students have completed this remote training, they can start producing masks. They donate 50% of production to their community’s hospitals. They keep the remaining masks, distributing them among the University’s workers, professors and students.

5) Southern Cone Council

Foundation: 1977
Sections: Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, South Chile and Uruguay.

5.1) Project name: DisTree. Protection device for Medical staff in COVID-19 pandemic

Type of project: Infection Control Device
IEEE Section: IEEE Argentina Section
Country: Argentina
Funding Awarded: US$4,979.00

Brief Description:
DisTree is composed of a system of personal smart cards, electronic beacons and software that work together to prevent and protect health personnel from direct and indirect infection by COVID-19. The card is configured as a wearable device, to be used by healthcare personnel. The beacons are placed as labels on the equipment and/or tools that are in contact with the patient, differentiating them into three levels and assigning a viral load weighting factor in the processing algorithm, which includes time and distance to the source of emission as variables. A wi-Fi server receives the information from the cards, with which analyses and reports are prepared estimating the viral load received by the user and the environment, generating a viral load map. In addition, to preserve social distance, when two cards (users) are within a range of less than 1.5 meters, they will receive a warning in the form of vibration and sound. This project allows for easy adaptation to future WHO recommendations, because when the quarantine ends and daily activities are resumed, it is necessary to maintain social distancing as a precaution. These devices can be used in shopping malls, shops, companies, factories, among others, allowing to prevent new covid infections among citizens and at the same time reactivate the local economy.