Society problems

Big ideas seek innovative solutions to societal challenges

The Cal State Fullerton College of Engineering and Computer Science ‘Big Ideas’ initiative provides concrete solutions to society’s most pressing problems through three faculty-led projects.

“This effort envisions new ways of engaging as a college in societal challenges and how philanthropy can play an important role in promoting shared impact,” said Dean Susan Barua.

The college is seeking private support to make the projects a reality through its “Titans of Transformation: Big Ideas” initiative – part of the university’s “It Takes a Titan” campaign to invest in student success.

The “Titans of Transformation: Big Ideas” website was launched to engage the community as donors, partners and collaborators.

Susamma (Susan) Barua
Susan Barua, Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science

College faculty members have developed three transformative and innovative projects to tackle the difficult issues facing communities:

“The goal is to match the strengths of our faculty with the needs of the community. Fire mitigation, homelessness and human-centered design are complex and multifaceted challenges, ”said Barua.

“We have had families affected by wildfires, we have students who are homeless, and our students deserve to have access to the most innovative program through human-centered design. ”

Forest fire mitigation engineering

Forest fires in California are more and more frequent and intense. A multidisciplinary team of faculty and students is focused on developing an innovative solution in fire mitigation and prevention to help save property and lives. The team is designing an intelligent, wireless, solar-powered sensor concentrator that can transmit information to a central processing station for data analysis and to generate alerts. The aim of the project is to identify forest fires at an early stage and to detect high risk areas prone to fires – before the fires start. A mobile app is also designed to alert people to fires, help fire departments and volunteers identify high fire risk areas, and coordinate evacuation efforts.

Digital initiative for the homeless

This project aims to meet the needs of the homeless population, especially in Orange County where homelessness is one of the most difficult and growing problems. The aim is to take advantage of technological solutions to directly or indirectly serve the homeless. These include the use of telehealth technology to deliver mental health services and “digital identities” to help people keep track of documents, such as social security and insurance cards that are needed. to access services, while ensuring that personal information remains private and secure. The multidisciplinary project also offers a service learning component to engineering and computer science students, as well as to other students. Faculty members from all disciplines, as well as local agencies, including nonprofits that serve the homeless, will work together to tackle homelessness in communities.

Human-Centered Design Initiative

Human-Centered Design is an interdisciplinary approach to problem solving that focuses on engaging with stakeholders to develop needs-based solutions. The aim of the initiative is to give engineering students the ability to design and implement solutions to social problems in Orange County. This project creates invaluable opportunities to work with community organizations, nonprofits and governments to identify their needs and address challenges. At the same time, engineering students will work with these organizations, become agents of change, and prepare to enter the workforce. An example of human-centered design is how engineers created rolling water containers for Africans who deal with access to clean drinking water.

The Big Ideas process involved input from the ECS College Governing Council, members of the campus community and ECS donors. Faculty members will also seek federal grants to help fund their projects.