Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
November 21st, 2014

Some believe in a form of external ‘cosmic’ guidance concerning seemingly random events.  Others simply don’t.  Then along comes FATE  (FAll DeTector for the Elderly) which could be a key to assisting the elderly to have more independent lifestyles.  This product is literally putting fate in the hands of those who may feel a keen sense of loss of control of their own destinies!

This is done by implementing an accurate, portable and usable fall detector that runs a complex and specific algorithm to accurately detect falls, and a robust and reliable telecommunications layer based in ZigBee and Bluetooth technologies, capable of sending alarms when the user is both inside and outside the home.

The system is being tested and validated in 3 pilot studies involving real living scenarios, one in each of 3 different EU countries (Spain, Italy and Ireland), in close collaboration with the relevant public authorities (regional authorities in Spain, municipalities in Italy and National authorities in Ireland).

Read about it and watch the videos here:

Fall Detector for the Elderly



(The research is being conducted in partnership with Polytechnic University of Catalonia/Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech.  They are one organization among those forming a consortium for the project.  Job opps for you perhaps?)

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November 17th, 2014

Once every few hundred thousand years the magnetic poles flip so that a compass would point south instead of north. While changes in magnetic field strength are part of this normal flipping cycle, data from Swarm have shown the field is starting to weaken faster than in the past.  Researchers think power grids and communication systems would be most at risk.  Is there work that you are engaged in that could help mitigate the effects of our world turning ‘upside down’???


Earth’s Magnetic Field Flip Could Happen

Sooner Than Expected


Schematic illustration of Earth's magnetic field. Credit/Copyright: Peter Reid, The University of Edinburgh

Schematic illustration of Earth’s magnetic field. Credit/Copyright: Peter Reid, The University of Edinburgh


Changes measured by the Swarm satellite show that our magnetic field is weakening 10 times faster than originally predicted, especially over the Western Hemisphere.  The Swarm satellites not only pick up signals coming from the Earth’s magnetic field, but also from its core, mantle, crust and oceans.

Here is some additional information on the topic from the British Geological Survey site that you may find helpful: Reversals: Magnetic Flip

And some amazing detail from NASA:  Magnetic Pole Reversal Happens All The (Geologic) Time

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November 11th, 2014

People are usually given a breathalyser test to determine whether they are over the legal limit for alcohol consumption.  Here’s a more pleasant application of this testing – - -

Breathalyser used to diagnose

dolphin health


Students Dolphin encounter image by Ste Elmore, CC BY 2.0at UC Davis are working on helping dolphins and other marine life.  It looks like wet but happy work…

And honestly, how could you not smile back for this face? [Dolphin encounter image by Ste Elmore, CC BY 2.0]


Perhaps current human breathalyzer testing will expand to being a diagnostic tool for people, too!   There are ideas in the works – check out this article:  Sports concussion ‘breathalyser’ proposed  Scientists at the University of Birmingham in the U.K. are developing a “breathalyser” to detect concussions, which will be used to prevent brain injuries among athletes, especially children.

And, should you manage to pick up the April 2014 issue of Journal of Medical Engineering & Technology, there’s an interesting research article on this topic [Designing breathalyser technology for the developing world: how a single breath can fight the double disease burden (Authors: Sarah Krisher, Alison Riley, and Khanjan Mehta, Vol. 38, No. 3 , Pages 156-163(doi:10.3109/03091902.2014.890678)]  Abstract: The meteoric rise in the prevalence of non-communicable diseases, alongside already high rates of infectious diseases, is exacerbating the ‘double disease burden’ in the developing world. There is a desperate need for affordable, accessible and ruggedized diagnostic tools that detect diseases early and direct patients to the correct channels. Breath analysis, the science of utilizing biomarkers in the breath for diagnostic measures, is growing rapidly, especially for use in clinical diagnostic settings. Breathalyser technologies are improving scientifically, but are not yet ready for productization and dissemination to address healthcare challenges. How does one ensure that these new biomedical devices will be suitable for use in developing communities? This article presents a comprehensive review of breath analysis technologies followed by a discussion on how such devices can be designed to conform with WHO’s ASSURED criteria so as to reach and sustain in developing countries where they are needed the most.


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Cities, citizens and businesses all have a role to play when it comes to creating smarter and sustainable systems to plant, grow and distribute food. For a taste of some companies that are trying to make a difference, read  about these three innovative ideas.

 sustainable food

Lab to Fork: Growing Meat to Save Animals, Environment

The idea of beef produced in a petri dish may be hard to swallow for some, but one start-up believes the concept will grow on people. Brooklyn, New York-based Modern Meadow Inc. is developing what it calls bio-fabricated meat by using a technology called tissue engineering. By cultivating muscle cells in a vat to produce meat protein, the company hopes to reduce the slaughtering of animals and create a more humane food-supply system. Modern Meadow also says lab-grown meat offers a more sustainable and economical alternative to the traditional livestock industry because of fewer greenhouse-gas emissions and less land and water use.

Where Tunnel-Raised Lettuce Is the Bomb

For a group of sustainable farmers in London, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. LED light, to be exact. It’s helping them grow heads of salad in abandoned WWII bomb-shelter tunnels 33 meters underground, near the Clapham North subway station. A company called ZeroCarbonFood finds the subterranean space perfect for raising lettuce and micro greens through hydroponics, or gardening without soil. ZeroCarbonFood says the system uses 70 percent less water than conventional farming and is pesticide-free. The group, which is leasing the tunnels from Transport London, aims to sell the produce to high-end restaurants as well as through retail markets, and boasts that the turn-around time from picking to customer delivery is as little as four hours.

Saving Bees and Creating a Buzz

Global honeybee colonies have been endangered by pesticides and other pathogens, putting crops that depend on pollination such as almonds, berries, fruits and vegetables at risk, as well as honey supplies. To help restore colonies and to promote awareness of the issue, Philips has designed what it calls the urban beehive, which permits indoor beekeeping at home. The sleek and pod-like beehive has a glass shell that contains honeycomb-like frames, which allow bees to build their wax cells. By pulling on a chain, smoke can be released into the hive to calm the bees before it’s opened to allow honey harvesting.

For more inspiration on how technology is making a difference in agriculture and food, read the Smart Moves post How Big Data Is Planting the Seed for Smarter Food.

Could cities and citizens like you do more to increase sustainable agriculture and farming? Do you have your own Ideas & Insights you would like to share? Sign up here, tell us about it and help change the world for the better.

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November 7th, 2014

For those of us fortunate enough to have been granted the full use of all of our limbs throughout all of our life, it is nearly impossible to understand the challenges faced daily by those who don’t have unlimited mobility.  There are numerous charities around the world that work tirelessly to collect funds for research.  There are countless hospitals and clinics staffed by caregivers and rehabilitation specialists.

This story is about the brilliant work of a man whose own physical abilities have been reduced – and his gift of new mobility to others who need a helping (robotic) hand…

The ReWalk Device


Invented by Dr. Goffer, the Founder and President and Chief Technical Officer of ReWalk Robotics, the ReWalk allows paraplegics to stand upright, walk and in some cases climb stairs.  He is a graduate of Technion University in Israel.  An Israeli inventor who became quadriplegic after an ATV accident in 1997, it was through his own personal experience in utilizing mobility devices for people with spinal cord injury that Dr. Goffer developed the ReWalk.

Read the press coverage and be inspired!!! This is the use of technology for a truly unselfish and humane cause.  You can make this kind of a difference in the world, too!

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