Next generation of researchers use technology to tackle humanitarian issues

Research news

Tuesday 01 November 2016

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Could drones and 3D printing support humanitarian work? – Two Coventry University students set out to investigate this year.

The pair, working with Dr Anh Tran, supported work to investigate how new technology could be used in developing countries and after disasters.

Joyce Tang, a second year Mechanical Engineering student, looked at the potential for low-cost 3D printing and scanning to support plastic surgery and medical services in the developing world.

Judin Narley, a master’s student, focussed on drones and whether they can be used for search-and-rescue missions or for mapping areas after disasters.

Each investigation, lasting up to eight weeks, was carried out across the summer and provided the students with the chance to work alongside university researchers and support ongoing projects.

Joyce’s work comparing lost-cost printing technology and 3D scanners will now be used as the basis for further research with professionals from Coventry University Hopsital.

Judin’s study of the use of drones in humanitarian situations forms part of a wider study that will be continued by university researchers, subject to funding.

The projects formed part of the university’s engineering, environment and computing paid internship programme, in which students were invited to support one of 30 projects across the summer.

Joyce said:

It’s enabled me to witness first hand that mechanical engineering is not just tied down to one automotive sector. It is completely feasible to get involved with humanitarian engineering.

“Taking part in the project has really motivated me to base my final project dissertation on a topic which amalgamates both mechanical engineering as well as humanitarian engineering together. I’ve always wanted to use engineering as a means of helping people but I never quite knew how to go about achieving this, I’m highly excited in about potentially working within this sector in the future.”

Dr. Anh Tran said:

Both Joyce and Judin’s work during the summer internship has been invaluable in providing high quality research outputs that will be used for journal publications and to pursue external funding grants. These opportunities provide the foundation for research excellence at the Faculty of Engineering, Environments and Computing at Coventry University building the next generation of top-class researchers in the UK.”


For further press information, please contact Kelly Baker-Adams, Coventry University, on 024 776 59752 or email