Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
Archive for October, 2012

As part of our smart classroom project, we are using mobile augmented reality  to allow Mexican secondary education students to access additional educational contents related to their  textbooks.

We applied a usability test to see if our AR application can be used as an educational tool and to assess its application and validate how easy is it to use.

The initial usability testing of our augmented reality system showed a user satisfaction of 97%.

We found in the usability evaluation that our educational AR system was well received by secondary school students.

Although nowadays not all students in middle school are able to access smartphones, these conditions are likely to change.

As a general conclusion we can say that the use of mobile phones as a platform to deploy augmented reality applications for education is adequate.

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October 24th, 2012

Alma Water is in its marketing research stage and would like for you to participate in the quick survey below.

We appreciate you time and effort

Thank you,

Alma Water team

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October 21st, 2012

Are you aware that an estimated 70,000 pedestrians are injured or killed in motor vehicle collisions each year? Most of these accidents occur because of limited driver visibility; however, our project is hoping to reduce that number.

The goal of our project is to develop a safer environment in areas of vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Our design will be implemented through the use of a solar powered sensor network that is connected with a warning signal. Initially, the sensor system detects a moving vehicle and sends a signal to a receiver. The receiver then sends the signal to the warning sign, made up of a design of LEDs, which flash to warn any other moving objects that may not be able to see the initial car due to reduced/obstructed visibility.

This system could be adapted for use in areas such as parking decks, where the warning signs could be connected to form a network that would promote greater safety around areas of low visibility. The solar panels could be installed on the top or sides of the parking deck and could generate all the power necessary for the network of sensing devices and warning signs.

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October 17th, 2012

Alma Water

Our group consist of Kasey Gourley (Finance), Matt Lane (Management), Charlie Kalna (Management), Steven James (Management), Katelyn Hasse (Nuclear Engineer).

After reading an article, suggested to him by his grandfather, Kasey realized the importance of water and continued hearing that water is the “blue gold”. The article stated that, “More than 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 97.5% of that is salt water, leaving only 2.5% as fresh water. With the population projected to top 9 billion people by 2050, the need for water will increase substantially.”  He spoke with his grandfather and determined there has to be a more efficient and sustainable way to desalinate water using solar power and green energy.

Kasey pitched this idea to his group, in their Management 451 class “New Venture Planning”. The class challenges the students to come up with an idea for a business and write a business plan around their idea. The students must research the idea, develop marketing strategies, perform a feasibility analysis and, finally, write a business plan to present to the class at the end of the semester. After pitching the idea, the team agreed that it was a great idea and could be a possibility. We then began to brainstorm on the exact business we wanted to be in and who our customers/target market were going to be. After much thought, we decided to be a company that bottles water, due to the extreme markup on bottled water. This give us the best chance to make a profit, with the high start up and overhead cost associated with desalination. We decided that selling a premium, high quality, bottle of water would be our most viable option. With green energy and sustainability a major issue facing our world, we decided that using solar power and biodegradable bottles would make our product more appealing to the socially/environmentally responsible customers.

As a team, we believe this is possible and will strive to make it happen. With each member bringing different attributes and strengths, we have a solid foundation to jump start the process of turning this idea into reality.  Our next step is to take this idea of ours and start a basic market research.  We intend on accomplishing this by channeling surveys out to a wide variety of individuals,  we plan to discuss with current operators of desalinating plants, solar engineers, engineering and business professors about the overall scheme and plan, and do an analysis of our customers and determine the cost associated with the prototype we will build.

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October 15th, 2012

Finding a solution to a problem rarely involves moving directly from point A to B. Instead, the problem in itself changes and new obstacles present themselves along the way, leading to an unprecedented and often greater solution. A group of Northwestern University students working to reduce the amount of harmful pollutants in the North Shore Channel can attest to this phenomenon firsthand. After learning from other students on the Northwestern rowing team that contact with the contaminated water in the North Shore Channel was correlated with incidences of several students becoming ill, a group of students representing majors as varied as biomedical engineering, film, global health, materials science and history decided to find a way to clean up the channel and make it safer for those using it. After researching potential sources of pollutants and aeration techniques, the students believed that tackling the pollution at the source of the channel, near Wilmette Harbor, was the best method to resolve the issue. After learning about the vast scale of the problem and the multiple sources of pollutants with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, the students decided that it would be more feasible to implement a smaller scale, more attainable solution on the Northwestern campus. -With access to top professors and an administration that would support innovative water projects on campus, why not take advantage of local these opportunities? The consensus amongst the students and faculty changed to creating a rain garden on the roof of the Northwestern University library. While the project is small in
scale, its ambitions are grand. The water collected in the rain garden will be deterred from the overburdened North Shore Channel, preventing damaging runoff from entering the Channel. Furthermore, the addition of the rain garden will revive a dead public space and hopefully spark conversations about sustainability. Perhaps most importantly, the project involves a wide array of people working together towards a common goal to make the world a sustainable place, including Northwestern students, professors, and employees, PBS, the MWRD, the city of Evanston, After all, this project isn’t just about Northwestern- it’s about a community working together to make the North Shore Channel safer for everyone.

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