IEEE USA honors Indian Engineer
By Bala Shah
Sampathkumar Veeraraghavan was recognized as the IEEE / IEEE-USA's 2011 New Face of Engineering during National Engineer Week for developing technological solutions that improve the lives of disabled and impoverished women and children in India. Veeraraghavan was one of 14 engineers recognized for this international honor and featured in a full page ad in USA Today on Feb 2.
"I'm humbled by this honor and would like to dedicate it to the disabled children that benefit from our programs," Veeraraghavan said. "The recognition has motivated me to strongly pursue my passion toward designing engineering solutions to solve global humanitarian issues. In coming years, I will continue working to develop more technological solutions, and will strive hard to bring many more positives changes to the living conditions of people with disabilities."
Veeraraghavan, 27, is a component design engineer with the Intel Corp. and lives in Hudson, Mass. He earned his master's degree in electrical engineering from Tufts University in Medford, Mass., in May 2010.
After graduating from India's Anna University with a bachelor's degree in computer science and engineering in 2005, Veeraraghavan visited a local school for developmentally disabled children in Chennai, India, where he saw children with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and other disorders. Their needs varied so much that proper therapy was impossible.
So he and a group of medical professionals developed the Automated Screening System for Developmental Disorders, a 30-minute screening procedure that assists in the early detection of autism in children as young as 18 months.
According to a 2008 story in The Institute, the procedure "evaluates the child's fine and gross motor, social, and language skills through 48 questions aimed at the primary caretaker, and includes artificial-intelligence gaming systems for the child. The screening system assigns each question or task a different numerical value that, when computed, add up to a score that could suggest symptoms of autism."
Veeraraghavan recently created India's first online database to collect and analyze information on the physically and mentally disabled. The Information System on Human and Health Services is helping to close the sizable gap in medical resources available to women and children in urban vs. rural areas. More than two million people in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu have been impacted by the system.
Veeraraghavan has received numerous awards from IEEE and other organizations for his humanitarian work.
The New Faces of Engineering program is sponsored by the National Engineers Week Foundation, a coalition of engineering societies, major corporations and government agencies. The program highlights the vitality, diversity and rich contributions of engineers under 30. They are honored annually during EWeek. IEEE-USA has participated in the program since its inception in 2003.