Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
February, 27th 2015

Decades ago, a now-classic episode of the TV program “I Love Lucy” had a hilarious sketch involving Lucy and her best friend, Ethel, hand rolling and packaging chocolates on a conveyer belt.  This particular show is still among my favorites – not least because it involved chocolate, of which I am passionately fond!

There have been a lot of advances in assembly-line technology since then.  Here’s a look at:

The rarely-seen robots that


package what we eat


 Delta robotsThe robots actually in factories don’t have hands…they’re more unusual (SPL)

And a very interesting look at the man who ‘started it all’:  Reymond Clavel of EPFL (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne)


Robots are handling many of the tasks that used to require human dexterity.  Are you part of the advance of the machines? (Although, they probably won’t make you laugh til you cry like Lucy and Ethel did!)

Bookmark and Share

In medicine, innovation can mean life or death.

YouTube Preview Image

But in order to truly heal the future, we have to do more than treat the sick and fix the broken. We have to make wellness a priority. So architects are working to design better communities; computer programmers are developing smart devices to keep us on a healthy path; neurologists are learning how to train the brain to stave off dementia.

CNN is featuring 10 inventions or people that are changing the world.  It’s time to honor innovations that will affect your body and your mind.

These 10 ideas are revolutionizing health care — from the operating table to the kitchen table. Even those that don’t come to fruition as imagined will have forged a path for another that will one day save a life.

Read all about these amazing breakthroughs here and vote for the ones that you think are vital to our well-being:

  • no more pills
  • end of chemo
  • easy fitness
  • custom organs
  • no scar surgery
  • fixing DNA
  • brain training
  • sharing data
  • personal sensors
  • new super drugs

Which idea or invention do you think will have the biggest impact on the future of medicine?    Vote here


Bookmark and Share

The University of Michigan Ann Arbor is taking driving to roads hitherto untraveled!  They’re testing vehicles in a ‘fake city’ constructed on their campus under the auspices of the Mobility Transformation Center, a partnership with industry and government to lay the foundations for a commercially viable ecosystem of connected and automated mobility.  Read the story straight from the school:

U-M’s cityscape will test driverless vehicles

UMich Mobility

Photo Credit © The Regents of the University of Michigan, Mobility Transformation Center

Called M City, the one-of-a-kind facility will include a network of roads with up to five lanes, intersections, roundabouts, roadway markings, traffic signs and signals, sidewalks, bus facilities, benches, simulated buildings, streetlights, parked cars, pedestrians and obstacles like construction barriers.


The story is getting play from the UK tabloids as well…   The Fake City Helping Create Tomorrow’s Cars

While it might seem like an image out of a Hollywood movie clip, the advances that are made on this “stage set” are hoping to lead to the implementation of a connected and automated mobility system on the streets of southeastern Michigan by 2021.

Bookmark and Share

Snact is just starting to ramp up their new business using food that would otherwise be thrown away, such as apples that are deemed too small for supermarkets as well as other fruits that would otherwise be thrown away. A bit of pulping and a lot of drying later, they turn into snacts.

YouTube Preview Image


GrowUP Urban Farms uses aquaponics to produce sustainable plant and fish growth to supply city businesses with nutritious food.  They lower the environmental impact of agriculture by building and operating farms that take unused urban space and use it to grow produce. Through the use of aquaponic technology and protected cropping, they can produce a year-round harvest of fresh, leafy vegetables and fish.

YouTube Preview Image


Sounds like 2 very responsible businesses that are lead by young entrepreneurs who decided to take action and make a sustainable difference in the world.

Bookmark and Share
February, 23rd 2015

…or could use a change of pace, we may be on the verge of getting more accurate forecasts.  Ever hear of Radio Occultation?  I hadn’t, until I read this article – this is very cool stuff… Radio occultation (RO) is a remote sensing technique used for measuring the physical properties of a planetary atmosphere.  If you’re atmospherically inclined, this is the story for you!

Beginning this year, a Silicon Valley startup called Spire is set to launch a network of small satellites aimed at improving and modernizing weather forecasting on a few key fronts.

New Satellite Network Launching This Year

Aims to Improve Weather Forecasting

Radio Occultation

Radio occultation analysis of signal delay by the tamdem FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC used as atmospheric sounding.
[Photo Credit: Wikipedia]

 According to Dr. R. A. Anthes et al., 2008, in The COSMIC/FORMOSAT-3 Mission: Early Results   published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (Volume 89, Issue 3):  “The radio occultation (RO) technique, which makes use of radio signals transmitted by the global positioning system (GPS) satellites, has emerged as a powerful and relatively inexpensive approach for sounding the global atmosphere with high precision, accuracy, and vertical resolution in all weather and over both land and ocean.”

Maybe the day is coming when you’ll actually be able to dress with confidence that you’re attired appropriately for the weather?

Bookmark and Share

Subscribe to this blog Subscribe to this blog

ChatClick here to chat!+