Engineering a solution to homelessness

Feb. 12, 2018

In his efforts to engineer solutions for societal problems, Dr. Kevin Passino, the former director of The Ohio State University's Humanitarian Engineering Center (HEC) was recently featured by the American Society for Engineering Education. 

The group's publication, PRISM, explored the topic of homelessness in America - and the growing need for realistic solutions, "A Grand Challenge? Maybe Not." Humanitarian engineering is the creation of technology to promote human welfare.

Kevin Passino, former HEC director and professor of electrical and computer engineering at Ohio State, is among those focusing engineering solutions toward humanitarian causes. Specifically, his textbook Humanitarian Engineering: Advancing Technology for Sustainable Development contains several sections discussing homelessness and a range of technologies that can help.

Typical solutions range anywhere from creating low-cost and portable shelters, to providing technological solutions to provide lighting. However, much more is accomplished by finding more focused engineering solutions. 

“You need to engineer things so it’s sort of people-proof,” Passino said. "Take candles for example—they’re light, cheap, and produce heat and light, but someone might roll over at night and kick it. A homeless woman told me one of her best friends burned to death.”

To learn more about Passino and the HEC, visit: 

Find the full PRISM article HERE.

Story permission given by: Ohio State ECE/IMR Communications Specialist, Ryan Horns

Edits made by: Hayden Clark