Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience

Kodak logos  For many, many years, this company name was widely known.  The name was synonymous with picture taking.  They revolutionized an industry.  Then things began to change and film cameras were no longer in the hands of every person on the planet.  (insert violins playing sadly here…) We’d gone – gasp – digital!  And Kodak was facing a precipice from which there might be no survival…

There were plans to move to digital consumer cameras, but the cash Kodak made on traditional photography made it complacent.  There always seemed to be time.  By 2001, even before smartphone cameras, film sales started to fall by 20 to 30 percent every year.


Then came bankruptcy filing. Most people don’t even realize Kodak is still in business.  But, quietly, they’ve been working to resuscitate their corpus from its labored breathing and they are looking at tech they shelved in their past to move them forward.

In a warren of basement labs, some of the 300 scientists and engineers who work for Mr. Taber [a veteran of 34 years with Kodak] are studying nanoparticle wonder inks, cheap sensors that can be embedded in packaging to indicate whether meats or medicines have spoiled, and touch screens that could make smartphones cheaper.

What happens after a tech company is left for dead but the people left behind refuse to give up the fight? At Kodak the answer is to dig deep into a legacy of innovation in the photography business and see if its remaining talent in optics and chemistry can be turned into new money in other industries.


Although the article I’ve linked here is lengthy, this is really worth reading – take the time to do more than a quick scan.  Consider what lessons you can learn from this article.  And can you apply those lessons to help yourself and others achieve a Smarter Planet?


At Kodak, Clinging to


a Future Beyond Film



So…although their logo may have evolved over time, the company itself didn’t keep up.  The surviving employees are hoping that they can change all that now and re-emerge as a well-known and respected brand once more.




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Renewable energy could provide a cheap and immediate source of power to those who need it most – especially those thrown into chaos by war (including refugee camps), famine or natural disaster.

UK entrepreneur, John Hingley, founder of Renovagen has developed a lightweight roller solar panel designed to be deployed in war zones and remote locations.  The panel is designed as a bendable solar panel sheet which is a patented solar system called RollArray – a 9mm thick photovoltaic sheet that “rolls up like a carpet.”

blog rollarray

The RollArray claims to be 10 times more powerful than any other transportable solar generator of the same size, and that a 20ft container can house a system capable of producing 100 kilowatts at peak performance.

Daniel Becerra, co-founder of BuffaloGrid, wants to relieve some strife by enabling mobile phones to be charged in off-grid locations. The UK company has developed a small portable unit resembling a toolbox which users can plug their phones into to charge. The BuffaloGrid Hub can run off any power source, including solar panels. There’s a huge demand for this because many of the world’s poorest people, while lacking a power supply, have their own mobile phones.

Bboxx, which sells off-grid solar systems core product is a solar home system, known as the BB17, which contains a 17 amp battery encased in a control unit. This allows people in cut-off regions to power a range of standard appliances.

Do you have any expertise in this arena?  or would any of these solar solutions help you to develop other great ideas for leaving a smaller footprint?

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arash in


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April, 20th 2015

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arash in

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With the almost continual reliance on staying connected nowadays, a dead cell phone battery can be a catastrophic event in one’s daily life.  Remembering to charge that device to keep it functioning has been added to the list of daily items on almost everyone’s “to-do” list.  Now there’s a possible solution to that dilemma…

Tejas Shastry’s busy creating AMPY, a device he and fellow Northwestern Ph.D. students Alex Smith and Mike Geier invented in class. They say it’s a cure for the dead cell phone, turning energy from a person’s physical movement, called kinetic energy, into battery power.

Smith said. “The secret for AMPY really came from taking somewhat existing technology and shrinking it into a form factor that can fit right here in your pocket.”


Read about this invention, profiled by CBS News, here:

Run, walk, bike your way


to a full charge


Not only is this concept a great way to relieve your brain of having to remember to add charging your cell phone into your everyday routine, it’s got the added benefit of stimulating your physical activity to new heights.  The payoff isn’t just being fit and toned, but having a working phone to brag about your exercise accomplishments, as well!  And you’re being ‘green’ by not consuming electricity to recharge your phone!

If you’re interested in this gadget, the unit – along with various accessories – can be pre-ordered on their site:  AMPY cell phone charger logo    Estimated ship date: July 2015, base pricing cost ~$100 USD



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