Ingenuitas Innovation Hub Addressing Critical Health in the Developing World Through STEM


Ingenuitas, a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization led by Kenan Institute Trustee Dr. Juan Luis Torres, seeks to develop pragmatic solutions to health problems in the developing world, particularly in areas with significant deficiencies in infrastructure, such as lack of electricity, adequate water supply, or clean environment. Over fifty STEM HS students have been involved with Ingenuitas and the attendance has averaged between 30-40 students five days a week during after-school hours. Currently, the principal project is the construction of a prototype mosquito trap of low cost and high efficiency. The principle for this trap has been termed “Metabomimetics”.

Mosquitoes bearing infectious diseases continue to be a principal health concern in developing areas of the world, particularly in tropical regions. Chemical controls can be expensive, have difficult logistics, and can pose other health concerns. The widespread distribution of mosquito nets can offer protection but does not reduce the mosquito population near dwellings. The students were presented with the challenge of designing an inexpensive trap made of plastic, requiring no complex energy source that could effectively attract feeding mosquitos by placement in dwellings during the evening and nighttime, when the danger of bites is predominant.

The Technowolves robotics team from NS State’s STEM HS has also benefited from its association with Ingenuitas during this reporting period. Most of the students working on the Ingenuitas project are also part of this robotics team. The synergy has shown the impact of the model since all the students in the Technowolves have an interest in a technical career, principally engineering, and the relationship with Ingenuitas provides a broad view of the opportunities for world-impact of a technical career. The team completed a robot which they have entered successfully in regional competitions.