IEEE WIE Around the World
The IEEE BUP SB WIE Affinity Group organized its signature event of the year, ‘WEAVE’ from June 16-30 with the tagline: ‘Let’s weave our dreams of tomorrow’. As part of celebrating ‘International Women in Engineering Day’, the event focused on equality and cooperation between every gender. The purpose of ‘WEAVE’ was to encourage everyone to contribute more in engineering by providing a platform for individuals to showcase their talent through some contests which reflected qualities of critical thinking, designing and creative writing.
- Digital Artwork (Topic: Gender Equality)
- Write-up (Topic: Your Weaved Dream)
A total of 67 submissions were received from 21 different institutes all over the country, and even participants from Nepal, Australia and USA registered to join the event.
The event also included two online career sessions which were conducted by Achia Khaleda Nila, (CEO of Women in Digital) and Dr. Md. Hasanuzzaman Sagor (Assistant Professor, Queen Mary University, London) to discuss technical skills and research workflows respectively. In each session there was almost 170 participants present. In the final part of the program, the results of the contests were announced where the judges expressed their thoughts about the submissions.
On June 4, the IEEE International Workshop on Metrology for Industry 4.0 and IoT (METROIND4.0&IoT) dedicated a special session to the role of women in the new industrial revolution, titled “Gender-inspired approaches to the design of innovative measurement systems and IoT application”. Due to the sanitary emergency caused by the Covid-19 outbreak, the event was moved online but still succeeded to have great participation. It was a great opportunity for researchers and attendees to share ideas and solutions to account for gender diversity by design and analyse the role of women in technological innovation.
The main discussion was centered on the value added by the inclusion of gender requirements in the design of new devices and measurement systems, according to the needs of Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things (IoT). The great advancements accomplished in the engineering of intelligent materials, sensors and the IoT, indeed, allow us to rethink the design of the devices for the monitoring of physical and behavioral parameters, taking into account the characteristics of the end users in an increasingly sophisticated way.
The five papers presented during the special session covered heterogeneous technical topics, ranging from machine learning to IoT and to Human Machine Interaction, with the purpose of answering one specific question: to what extent are the gender-based issues taken into account when designing new systems?
It emerged that there are indeed various relevant gender-related design aspects that should be taken into account: when designing a device or a system, they can become one of the keys to optimally define its characteristics. If we think of women as users, the wearability of wearable measurement systems, the parameters to be measured, the management and protection of personal data are just some of the many aspects that can influence the reliability of a system and the quality of the data it produces.
The session was organized by Cristina Costa (Researcher at the Fondazione Bruno Kessler and Secretary of the WIE AG IEEE Italy Section), Paola Saccomandi, (Associate Professor at the Politecnico di Milano and Technical Program Chair of the IEEE MetroInd4.0&IoT Conference), Monica La Mura, (Post-Doc researcher at the University of Salerno social media communication responsible of the WIE AG IEEE Italy Section), and Dajana Cassioli (Associate Professor at the University of L’Aquila and chair of the WIE AG IEEE Italy Section).
The session started with the welcome message by Dajana Cassioli, who presented the WIE group and the purpose of the special session. The first talk was given by Riccardo Sabbadini , research assistant at the University Campus Bio-Medico, Rome, who presented a comparison between the force exerted during epidural puncture by using a custom and a commercial tool for the detection of the epidural space by the loss of resistance (LOR) technique, aiming at assessing the capability of such system to support the training of clinicians in performing epidural punctures for pain relief during labor in the Healthcare 4.0 era. It followed the presentation by Antonio Greco , researcher at the University of Salerno, which described the performance of a gender recognition system based on a smart camera and a computer vision algorithm. The system, designed to perform gender recognition from face images, can be connected to multimedia screens to provide real-time customized advertising content, tailored on the customer staring into the screen.
The presentation by A. Paviglianiti, PhD student and treasurer of the WIE SB of Polytechnic of Turin, focused on a wearable device for cardiac activity monitoring, designed according to the IoT paradigm for smart healthcare systems . The implementation of a de-bias technique ensures the mitigation of gender inequities in the datasets provided to the neural network that performs the arterial blood pressure prediction and monitoring, thus helping develop a gender-immune device.
Then, M. La Mura presented a survey on a gender-based approach to the development of machine learning-based systems for the detection of gender and emotions through speech signals analysis . It is reported how, in the view of achieving a feeling of natural conversation with vocal assistants based on artificial intelligence, an improvement in the success rates of the detection of the speaker’s emotional state is achieved by performing a preliminary recognition of the speaker’s gender.
The session closed with the presentation by D. Cassioli, discussing the importance of including gender diversity in the design of IoT solutions in order to account for the different ways women and men experience the ideation, development and usage of technology, as well as the importance of empowering women with technology to fill the skill gap that hinders women’s access to the new jobs emerging in the Industry 4.0 scenario .
Each talk stimulated several questions from the audience. Significant discussions, from the metrological characteristics of the devices to the synergetic use of gender recognition systems based on several physiological parameters, from the data protection to the role and responsibility of IoT systems in cybersecurity, triggered a constructive exchange of views among speakers and participants.
The good feedback received from the attendees let us believe that this experience can inspire similar initiatives across the Regions, to continue to give voice to the role of women in the implementation of gender-aware technology.
 R. Sabbadini, C. Massaroni, J. Di Tocco, E. Schena, D. Formica, A. Mattei, R. Cataldo, F. Gargano, M. Carassiti, “A non-invasive system for epidural space detection: comparison with Compuflo®”
 A. Greco, A. Saggese, M. Vento “Digital Signage by Real-Time Gender Recognition From Face Images”
 A. Paviglianiti, E. Pasero “VITAL-ECG : a de-bias algorithm embedded in a gender-immune device”
 M. La Mura, P. Lamberti “Human-Machine Interaction Personalization: a Review on Gender and Emotion Recognition Through Speech Analysis”
 D. Cassioli, A. Di Marco, T. Di Mascio, L. Tarantino, P. Inverardi “Is Really IoT Technology Gender Neutral?”
Joining the International women’s day celebrations, WIE AG and IAS SBC of IEEE SB RIT collaboratively conducted a women’s day special ‘Technical talk’ involving five women speakers. Speakers emphasized the importance of positive thinking and attitude which bring optimism into life, the importance of women’s access to STEM despite the discriminatory stereotypes and the scopes and challenges of women in STEM. Overall, it was a session worth attending and a better way to celebrate women’s day.
Mother’s Day is a special day that is celebrated in various parts of the world to express respect, honor, and love towards mothers. To throw some insight into this occasion IEEE WIE AG AND IEEE RAS SBC of IEEE SB RIT conducted a ‘TECHNICAL IDEATHON’ from May 8 to May 10. The theme of the ideathon was- ‘Addressing homemaker’s woes through technology’ . The registration fee collected for the event was donated to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund to aid people at the time of disasters. About 36 people (9 teams) participated in the event. The event was conducted in two phases, one being the idea of submission and another being the idea presentation (via Google meet) . Winning solutions were Mother Care Services and Emergency Alert System, Smart Screen using IoT on Fridge and Water Control Module. Altogether, the ideation provided the participants with a great opportunity to gather their ideas and showcase their technical designing skills.