Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
January, 31st 2015

The study of life forms other than human has led to many fascinating (and sometimes awe-inspiring) discoveries.  Each marvel that the plant and animal kingdoms reveal to us provides new roads for adapting these behaviors into our technologies.

Sensor technology has been incorporated into many current products, and has the potential to be used for a myriad of diverse purposes.  New York University (NYU) is examining what is being termed as a “Sixth Sense” in fish.  Beyond autos that self-park, avoid collisions, and don’t allow you to change lanes when there’s an oncoming vehicle in your blind spot, what applications can you envision that will make practical use of sensory technology?  Read the news release from NYU and find your way to float your ideas!

They See Flow Signals:  Researchers Identify Nature of Fish’s “Sixth Sense”Fishy


And here’s another article from that discusses the research:  Fish “flow sensors” give them sixth sense

If you’re interested in the published study by the researchers, click here for the article in the journal Physical Review Letters of The American Physical Society.

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January, 30th 2015

Well, Pepsico, for one.  They have plans to harvest the cashew fruit (also called a cashew apple) in a strategic partnership with smallholder cashew farmers in Maharashtra, India.

This partnership is expected to help spur social and economic development in emerging markets through a unique social enterprise model.

The cashew fruit which s typically not used by the cashew farmers is high in nutrition – rich in potassium and contains as much as five times the vitamin C of an orange and 50 times the vitamin C of an apple.

blog cashew fruit

PepsiCo India plans to begin incorporating the fruit into some of its blended juice products starting in the spring of 2015.

This is not a new product.  Aztec tribes originally used the juice to cure sore throats, phlegm in the throat, upset stomachs, to dislodge kidney stones, to treat scurvy, provide energy, to treat diarrhoea, cholera and to promote good health.  The reason why cashew apple juice was never commercially produced was due to the cashew apple having an extreme astringency that puckers up your mouth and makes the juice undrinkable.

The future of the cashew apple changed in 2001 when a special process was developed under the guidance of the University of Thailand to remove the toxins from the fruit and to assist a local orchard under a business development grant to turn the juice into a commercially viable product.

Sounds like a powerfully, healthy drink – seems like it just needed some attention and processing to make it palatable.  I wonder what it tastes like – would love to try it!  How about you?

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The goal of this project is to design a device that attaches to an everyday bicycle. The Bike Generator harvests energy from the movement of powerful magnets on the bike’s back wheel, or from a motor mechanically connected to one of the bike’s wheels. Through the use of electromagnetism, a battery then stores that power in a battery with the intention of charging electronics at a later time. By using a device to make the bicycle stationary, the Bike Generator could also be used as an exercise bike in a gym, and could potentially generate power that could go back into the electrical grid.

Let’s see what happens between now & the project’s end in May.

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Pilotless drones have had the biggest impact on the battlefield, serving as eyes in the sky and even as attack aircraft. But could they find another role, helping farmers boost food production?

The popular image of drones is as expensive pieces of military hardware which can be used for spying – or even going on the offensive.

But that’s changing as robots become more integrated with our everyday lives. Farming is one of the new frontiers, as food production has become more automated – everything from GPS-guided tractors to automated milking machines – and drones are started to be incorporated into what’s known as precision agriculture.

Robots are being used to survey crops and help farmers manage the water and chemicals they use in vast fields. Chris Anderson, the former editor-in-chief of Wired magazine, recently switched careers to move into drone manufacturing. He co-founded 3D Robotics, which is building drones in Mexico and the US which may one day keep a beady electronic eye on the food being grown for our tables.


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January, 29th 2015

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is at the forefront of computing.  Cognitive Computing is a blossoming field for today’s students and graduates seeking jobs.  We’ve moved from smart robots to smart robots that can learn and adapt.

Here’s a fun look from The Guardian at AI and gaming

MarioIt’s-a-me, Mario! And soon I’ll be

playing my games without your help …


A team of cognitive modelling researchers at the University of Tübingen in Germany’s latest project: “An Adaptive Learning AI Approach for Generating a Living and Conversing Mario Agent.”

Are you bringing your intelligence to the future of intelligent tech?

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