Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
September, 23rd 2014

I became a coffee drinker after consuming just a single espresso following an Argentine Tango performance; I was a member of the audience, not a performer, in case you wondered (or worried, if you’ve read any of my previous posts about my lack of innate grace on the floor).  The purpose of my acquiring a love for coffee is unclear to this day… be that as it may, I am doing my bit to support the coffee growing industry.

However, I hate being wasteful & throwing out coffee grounds, so I have found a variety of “useful” things to do with them.  Don’t ask – some have been utter failures!  But,  I do try to re-purpose things, wherever I can…  This use of part of the coffee industry’s “waste material” fascinates me – and I do hope that a market will build.  I have to do some checking around our local stores to see if I can find this product anywhere. 

What uneaten part of your next meal could be transmuted to a great new taste sensation?  Give it some thought, create a useable & palatable dish, try it out on your friends and take it to market yourself.  Bon appetit!

Read the story and…


EAT your coffee!

(then click on the pic below to check out the coffee flour website…)

Coffee Flour

Bookmark and Share

The Dutch Courage Foundation is sponsoring the πoseidon project which is supported by Delft University of Technology and IBM and comprised mostly of volunteers.

The ultimate goal of the πoseidon project is to setup an open platform for the collection and sharing of data within the (academic) research community and to make these data available to entrepreneurs and decision makers.

In Central Asia, which suffers under tremendous water stress, depletion of their natural resources is occurring at an alarming rate. The most striking example is the Aral Sea, which is drying out at a rapid pace, leaving nothing but dry desert on the land which was once ocean.

blog aral sea

The πoseidon project aims to make a change in all of this by creating awareness through education and marketing and providing assistance by developing low cost open source devices and an IBM Bluemix platform to assist local farmers in more efficient irrigation. This is called precision agriculture.

If you wish to help, please contact

Bookmark and Share
September, 21st 2014

The future of farming is becoming more clear everyday. In Minnesota, a company called Rowbot has created a robot that can apply fertilizer when the plants are growing so fast, needing fertilizer more than ever during their lifespan. By reducing the amount of fertilizer applied, the robot can reduce the amount of nitrogen that can leach into the waterways after it rains. The potential to stop pollution by limiting the amount of fertilizer used is both economical and good for the planet as a whole.

As the machine travels between rows, it can spray two rows of corn on either side of the machine. It uses GPS to know when it’s reached the end of the field, and LIDAR, or laser-scanning, to make sure it stays between rows of mature cornstalks without hitting them. Although such fields could also be fertilized at any time via irrigation, only about 15 percent of U.S. cornfields are irrigated.

Agricultural drones such as this one have become a part of a technological revolution in farming that is changing the face of the industry. According to Mike Schmitt from the University of Minnesota, the ability to apply fertilizer at precise times and locations is “very critical.” Rowbot is a company that is one of several trying to make an impact on the planet. This is just a foretaste of what is to come.

Read more here


Farm bot: This robot rolls between corn rows, applying nitrogen fertilizer to mature plants, and using laser-scanning to avoid hitting stalks.

Farm bot:
This robot rolls between corn rows, applying nitrogen fertilizer to mature plants, and using laser-scanning to avoid hitting stalks.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share
September, 19th 2014

As the semester kicks into full swing, more parts have started arriving, and we’ve begun testing, refining our designs, and more testing.

First up, our temperature sensors, courtesy of Sparkfun. This is a simple, robust design that will start the drum rotating once temperature reaches a certain threshold.



And of course, our Arduino Uno R3 that will be the brain of our entire system. Mouad and I have been working very closely together to set the groundwork for the power-control  interface.



And finally, magnetic pickups that will be part of our safety system, to make sure the system can’t run when the drum door is open.



More parts are coming every week, and we just finished our Critical Design Review last week. Stay tuned for more about that!


Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share
September, 19th 2014

Here’s a novel approach to ‘garaging’ your automobile…it’ll keep you from breaking into a sweat when you enter the vehicle.  Of greater value is the eco-friendly aspect of the whole idea!

Per Jim Kliesch, research associate at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and vehicle analyst for, parking in the shade reduces evaporative emissions – gas evaporating from your tank because of the heat (a hot gas tank may result in more evaporation of fuel – which is both wasteful and potentially expensive over the long term.)  Installing solar panels on the rooftop of a car-port keeps your auto cooler AND can generate energy for your home’s electrical system.

While it may take some time to convince the masses, wouldn’t all those parked cars baking in the sun be a neat way to power a mall?  Or a stadium?  How about the parking lots at railway stations being energy producers while the cars owners are elsewhere?  Think of the possibilities – - – and use your own inventiveness to figure out other applications for solar technology!

Solar Carports


Check out     ACEEEfor other applications of

energy-efficient technology, jobs, internships, etc!



Bookmark and Share

Subscribe to this blog Subscribe to this blog

ChatClick here to chat!+