Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience

Thought you had heard about all of the new technology, I bet.  Well, there’s a new monitor on the market called Spire.  It measures your breathing patterns and uses them to draw conclusions about your state of mind. The company says Spire is the first wearable to monitor breathing in an attempt to track mental health.

“It’s very hard to stay mindful throughout our chaotic and always connected day,” Jonathan Palley, Spire’s CEO, told The Huffington Post via email. “The design of the Spire experience is not to interrupt you every time you’re tense, but to bring mindfulness and awareness streaks of tension/focus/calm within this chaos.”

blog spire

The unit costs $149.95 USD and interacts with an iPhone app that pops up notifications throughout the day. One example cited is a businesswoman rushing around who enters an elevator. She pulls her phone out and sees there’s a notification from the Spire app: “Your breathing suggests you’re tense. Take a deep breath?” She does, and then the app informs her that she’s become focused.

This just might solve the problem you have when you don’t have any ideas for a birthday or holiday gift for that special someone.  Do you think this new product would or could improve someone’s life?

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Although I heard about this on the news only just before the start of 2015, the printed story from Wired goes back a ways (Oct. 2014).  Check out this invention by Dutchman Govert Flint…the Dynamic Chair—an exoskeleton-like chair that turns a sitter’s entire body into a computer mouse.

A Full-Body Mouse: Click With Your Leg, Scroll With Your Hips


And another article from The Guardian:  The mouse chair getting office workers on the move

However, there are some newer video links that I thought I’d share with you, too.  I’ve included several sites as your system and/or video access might block some of the feeds…


Science Daily

The Globe and Mail

FastCoExist        OR         FastCoDesign

Pretty cool right?   This really takes your grandmother’s rocking chair to a new dimension!!

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January 7th, 2015

Water – one of natures most amazing and powerful forces – has long been harnessed to produce energy.  Dikes, dams, water wheels, canals, paddle-wheel steamers…the list is endless.  I’m sure that somewhere in your youth you watched, fascinated, as raindrops splattered against your windowpane.  The plonk-plonk as the drops beat faster ~ gradually diminishing to single plops as a storm spent itself ~ were a lullaby in themselves.  The whoosh of ocean waves is soothing ~ until they strengthen and become terrifying.  Water can be a gift…or an enemy…

Humankind is re-establishing its love affair with water’s gift of energy.  In seeking alternative means to power our planet, we are turning to the natural resources that surround us.  Read one tactic here:

Turbines Float Like Kites In


New Ocean Energy Project


The project demonstrates once again how legacy companies are transitioning to new clean tech.  In this case, it’s a partnership between Japanese companies Toshiba and IHI Corporation.

The new ocean energy project comes under the auspices of NEDO, Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization.

Do you have any innovative solutions to offer on water usage for power production?


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     Centuries ago, music and learning were almost synonymous.  As many across the globe were not able to read, oral tradition was the means by which information was transmitted by minstrels, troubadours, and tribal or societal elders.  The rhythms and rhymes of of their voices, and any instrumental accompaniment, brought knowledge to the masses.  But, times have changed somewhat as we’ve moved further along into the technological world…
     Cognitive computing taking its place in education and all sorts of learning environments is big business.  This focus on applying mind activity to inform computing activity will continue to grow in 2015 and the years ahead.   And, observing brain activity when music is part of the equation is simply fascinating!
When you listen to music, multiple areas of your brain become engaged and active. But when you actually play an instrument, that activity becomes more like a full-body brain workout. What’s going on? Anita Collins explains the fireworks that go off in musicians’ brains when they play, and examines some of the long-term positive effects of this mental workout.

Music is good for the brain       Check out the video here:


How playing an instrument


benefits your brain


     Here is a story about the impact of music – not from a corporate slant, but a view of how it may be transformational to the very smallest people on the planet…Venezuela music project helps low-income kids even before birth

From their South American beginnings, they have grown; increasing their reach of dedication to bringing music into the lives of children worldwide…  Click this link to explore their organization’s website El Sistema Around the World

 What ‘gift’ or talent of your own will YOU

share to enhance a child’s learning potential???

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December 31st, 2014

While everyone watches fireworks, shares hugs and kisses, sings boisterously, etc., etc., the messages about celebrating safely flash at us from all over – - – billboards, tv screens, loudspeakers…  heck, even tweets from Mom and Dad or good friends.  While this particular invention is not yet ready for market, it’s an unusual use of Natural Language Processing technology that has been years in the making.  And there are probably MANY other applications for this kind of speech recognition software.

Between 2007 and 2009, linguistic researchers from the Bavarian Archive for Speech Signals at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and the Institute of Legal Medicine in Munich in Germany have been hard at work on the Alcohol Language Corpus

Its main purpose is to keep drivers from taking the wheel of a car when they are intoxicated or impaired.  Still in testing, it will have champions and detractors; its intent is to save lives by reducing the incidence of preventable driving accidents.

Inside The First Audio Library of

Alcohol-Addled Speech

(Which Just Might Help Stop Drunk Driving)


So, when you hoist your champagne or beer or wine or apple cider or whatever on December 31st, think of what contributions you’ll make to bring about a Smarter Planet and a safer world in 2015 (and do get home safely!!)

With best wishes for a wonderful New Year! – Anita                    new year


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