Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
Archive for March, 2014
March 31st, 2014

Hello IBM,

March has been a hectic month out in South Dakota! At the end of February IBM granted the Smarter Planet gift to the Engineers and Scientists Abroad (ESA) at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology to help the six-student team travel to a Chilean orphanage. While many upgrades and advancements can be made to the orphanage, the team is focusing on a graywater system and a water tank as the main projects to execute.

This month, a few designs for the graywater system have been considered. It will probably be installed above ground, due to the clay in the area. We don’t know if a backhoe will be available for digging, and we want to avoid wasting time away from the actual project assembly. Pipes and sand are ready for the projects in Chile. Once we get some flow measurements from the orphanage organizers, the design will come together!

Thank you again IBM for helping us out. More details to come!

Here is a photo from our first fundraiser. We have been cooking chili for free will donations. From the left the team is Chris, Riley, Christian, Trevor, Katelyn, Cat.

ESA chili feed

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March 26th, 2014

Factors we are monitoring are discussed below:


  • It greatly influences the survival or growth of a crop. Each crop has its own temperature survival range called cardinal temperature.
  • The effect of temperature on the rate of photosynthesis is little. The rate of photosynthesis increases with rise in temperature from 5 degrees to 37 degrees in general. The rate of photosynthesis is doubled for every 10 degrees increase in temperature. Note that this is in Celsius.
  • As temperature increases, respiratory reaction rates speed up, using more of the photosynthetic compounds manufactured in a day. This results in photosynthesis getting reduced. Also, plants require more water to maintain optimum water content in their tissues. Thus increase in the respiratory reaction will require more water for the plant to cope with the requirement and if not, this will result in low yield.
  • Usually high temperature promotes the growth of weeds, insects and pathogens.

Soil Moisture:

  • If soil moisture is near normal or wetter than normal, a dry spell from day 14 to day 60 after pollination will have a small influence on final corn yield.
  • When the top 6 inches of soil is wet, planting is delayed, and nitrogen can be lost to either denitrification or leaching. Leaching may lead to the development of seed, root, and crown diseases.
  • Dry soil during planting may result in poor stand establishment and may cause plant stress when dryness occurs during the periods of flowering and seed set.

Light Intensity (The degree of brightness that a plant is exposed to):

  • Light greatly affects photosynthesis, increase in the intensity of light will result in an increase in photosynthesis.
  • Deficient light intensities tend to reduce plant growth, development and yield.
  • Excessive light intensity should be avoided. It can scorch the leaves and reduces crop yields.

Sensors to be used are listed below:

  • Temperature Senor
  • Soil moisture sensor
  • Light sensor
  • Humidity sensor
  • Soil nutrient sensor (optional)

The cassava farm we are working on is shown below in its raw glory

Cassava Farmland

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March 25th, 2014

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Whitney is an interaction designer with a passion for understanding users’ needs and working with children.  In the past, she worked as a User Experience Research Intern with Nickelodeon Games Group at Viacom in San Francisco, CA.  Last summer, she worked as a Global Digital Brand Intern at Nike in Beaverton, OR.  This semester, she is working as a TA for the User-Centered Research and Evaluation course within the Human Computer Interaction department.  In May 2014, she will graduate Carnegie Mellon with a double major in Human Computer Interaction and Psychology and a minor in Biomedical Engineering.

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aeclogoWe are excited to announce that we have selected the three teams that will be advancing to the build phase of the competition! Each team submitted a detailed proposal outlining the details of their design including proof of need, expected efficiency, cost, and a construction timeline for their device. The three teams we selected and their corresponding projects are:

Team RAJ: A Peltier Thermoelectric Generator for Recreational Use

Team Gurlz: A Wind and Solar-powered Patio Umbrella

The Dream Team: Solar-powered Hydroponics

Each team will receive $300 to build a prototype of their design. They will have until May 1st to complete their builds where they will then present their designs to a panel of faculty and corporate judges. Judging criteria includes: efficiency, applicability, innovation, and creativity. We are very excited to see the results and  we will provide more updates as the build phase progresses!

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March 24th, 2014

With a slight lull in the coding and application development, we have just begun a complete stop-till-done phase in developing code for the integration framework. We expect to soon complete the first fully functional demonstartion of the SQL-Framework for Business Artifacts using BASQL queries in 2 months time.

The brief lull, was due to our preparation in submitting to a prestigious conference a research paper on this work. Results of acceptance/rejection are due in May – fingers crossed!

Anyway here are technical milestones we achieved as we are several weeks into the app-development process:

1) Creation of Artifacts with specifying Tasks, States and Data Attributes from Command line has been completed. See snapshot below:




2) Editing Artifact Attributes via BASQL Syntax. See snapshot below:



3) Viewing Artifact Content from the Command Prompt. See below:



With the brisk pace, we believe we are right on course to completing the project on time as originally envisaged. Stay tuned – the project only begins to become exciting from now on!

See you soon,

Raymond and Team

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