GHTC’s goal is to promote science, engineering and technology as key to development of solutions to humanitarian problems; foster exchange of information and networking; and positively impact lives around the world.
The 2014 IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC) was held in San Jose, California in mid-October. The cross-discipline conference provided a venue for those interested in applying technology to develop effective solutions for the challenges facing the world’s underserved populations. The conference brought together groups at all stages in developing new technological solutions to global humanitarian problems – including problem definition, early stage research, prototype development and testing, as well as deployment of products. Since most successful projects work through each of these stages, learning from the experience of others was valuable to our team in attendance.
The focus of the GHTC conference aligns closely to the mission of and Global Good and IV Lab, so it seemed natural that we should attend and present about our work. This year, IV Lab’s Matt Horning presented our work in malaria diagnostics. The presentation, Limitations of Hemozoin as a Diagnostic Biomarker for Malaria, shared some of the lessons learned during our hemozoin-based malaria diagnostic work. The main result Horning presented was that our technique, which had been in development for several years, was shown to not work. The team felt it was important to acknowledge, share, and publish our results to help alert others working on hemozoin-based diagnostics to some of our key challenges. Horning also presented the team’s more recent research including automated microscopy, automated acridine orange staining, and how we applied the lessons learned from our hemozoin-based malaria diagnostics work.
Overall, the presentations at GHTC were diverse in both the problems being addressed and the solutions presented. Some presentations overlapped with the work at IV Lab – in areas like malaria diagnosis, vector control, cold chain logistics, and agriculture. Even the presentations focusing on different problems provided lessons applicable to our work – in solving problems like deployment of prototypes and products, and collecting, managing and analyzing data.