June 15, 2015

Short films offer a glimpse inside engineering for global development

Updated June 15, 2015 – Thirty-three engineering teams from around the world entered mini documentaries about their work into the American Society for Engineering Education’s film festival, and the result is a glimpse into the world of design and engineering that meets basic needs. Cerro Patacon Community Water Development, a video and project by a team at the University of Pittsburgh, won the most votes from the public, and four others were community choice finalists. I Am Standing, a video by engineers at Loyola Marymount University, won the judge’s award, and six other won the judge’s approval as finalists. Both the community award winner and the judge’s award winner will each receive $1000 prize.

Most, but not all of the projects featured in the finalists’ videos are in E4C’s wheelhouse, so we’re presenting here the videos of low-cost and innovative engineering solutions to basic problems in underserved communities. For all 33 videos please see ASEE’s site.

Finalists by YouTube voting

To date the film festival’s 33 videos have a collective 35,000 views on YouTube. Those with the most likes were finalists in the community choice award.

1. Sieve Project – Future Families (University of Pretoria, South Africa)

Engineering students built a rotating sieve for compost to help the non-profit organization Future Families.


2. Community choice: Cerro Patacon Panama Water Development (University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)

The University of Pittsburgh’s Humanities, Engineering, and Design club continued construction projects in three rural communities in Panama called Kuna Nega, La Paz, and San Francisco.
[Embedding disabled. Please see the video on YouTube.]

3.  2015 Engineering Abroad Program (Cabrillo College, Aptos, California, USA)

A team from Cabrillo Community College’s Engineering Abroad Program traveled to Vuelta Grande, Guatemala to design and build a water system that would tap into local springs for the community and its school. The team calls the week spent there “the experience of a lifetime.”

4. LiquiNet – Helping Communities Monitor, Maintain & Own Their Water Sources (University of New Hampshire, Durham, USA)

A team at the University of New Hampshire founded LiquiNet, a socially driven start-up that provides tools for communities in developing countries to monitor, maintain, and own their water sources.

Film Festival Judge’s picks

This next set of videos was selected by the ASEE Community Engagement Film Festival Committee, which includes Tom Colledge at Penn State, Matt Siniawski at Loyola Marymount, Dave Schneider at Cornell and Jerry Hopcroft at Wentworth Institute of Technology.

1. Team Pyramid (Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, USA)

A student team partnered with WASCO, a non-profit organization that provides employment to adults with disabilities, to improve safety and efficiency at a steel stake manufacturing plant.

2. The Practical Utility Platform (Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA)

A team at Purdue is designing and building utility vehicles according to specifications set by farmers in Cameroon. We reported on their early progress at Made in Cameroon: Low-cost, heavy-duty farm truck prototypes, and the video updates the project.

3. EWB-B2P Mines: Striving for Accountable Humanitarian Engineering (Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado, USA)

Students in a joint chapter of Engineers Without Borders and Bridges to Prosperity built bridges in rural Nicaragua.

4. Valle Verde: Water Access Project (Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey, USA)

Rowan University’s Engineers Without Borders Student Chapter traveled to the Dominican village of Valle Verde to improve the community’s water systems. The village’s water pipeline is too small for the community and water sources are contaminated. The student team collected water quality data, developed a contour map of the community, demostrated a rainwater catchment system and analyzed the potential for water wells.

5. Ukweli Test Strips (Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania, USA)

Ukweli Test Strips are affordable screens for diseases such as urinary tract infections and diabetes.

6. Going the Distance: Ole Miss Engineering in Africa (University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi, USA)

The student Engineers Without Borders chapter is building a school in a village in Togo.

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