“It may be true that engineers are producing sometimes-myopic inventions. But something else is happening that is getting little attention.
“In labs around the world, a new generation of engineers is emerging. They are men and women concerned by the gulf between rich and poor and by environmental changes and resource depletion. They are what we call ‘development engineers’ – engineers (and often economics, business and social science majors, as well) who are dedicated to using engineering and technology to improve the lot of the world’s poorest people …
“The Open Data Kit, designed by engineers at the University of Washington [in collaboration with Google, by a team of students led by UW CSE faculty member Gaetano Borriello] is allowing hundreds of international development organizations to use mobile devices to collect critical data.
“This year, six of the 35 technology innovators recognized by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s prestigious 35 under 35 list were development engineers [including UW CSE Bachelors alums Kuang Chen and Kurtis Heimerl, who were advised in their UC Berkeley Ph.D. studies by UW CSE Ph.D. alum Tapan Parikh, a previous TR35 winner for his groundbreaking UW Ph.D. work on development engineering].”
Read more here.