Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
Cities
May 27th, 2015
5:52
 

Since well before the start of the space program, dehydrated food has been in use.  And microwaves, once thought to be ‘science fiction’ are in just about every home and restaurant in the developed world.

Here’s the latest addition to food prep that could excite your inner “Trekkie” (that’s a person partial to the television series and subsequent films on Star Trek for any of you not familiar with the term…).  The once futuristic concept was that a human could walk over to a device, place their food order verbally, and – presto – a fully cooked meal would appear almost instantaneously.

An Israeli company is introducing a new miniature cooker, called the Genie – it’s able to turn pods of freeze-dried ingredients into full meals in as little as half a minute.  Ayelet Carasso and Doron Marco are the Israeli entrepreneurs behind the device.

Real-life Star Trek ‘replicator’

prepares meal in 30 seconds

 

Genie

 

The price-tag may be hefty to start, but the inventors have a lot of confidence in this new kitchen gadget.  They are hoping to have a major impact on reducing world hunger (read the full article about the product by clicking the link below)

The Genie’s creators say it could also help solve global hunger. “In our world, we are getting fat and we are throwing away a lot of food, in their world, they don’t have any food,” Marco told Reuters. “So if you use Genie, you can distribute the food better, you can have the shelf life much longer without the preservatives, give the people better food for them.” (source: The Times of Israel)

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Creativity is helping drive new solutions that help  conserve water and ensure safe, clean supplies. Read about three ideas  awash in innovation.

billboard filled with water

Finding New Signs of Water

In Peru, some researchers are creating advertisements that can make your mouth water. Scientists at the Universidad de Ingenieria y Tecnologia in Barranco and a local ad agency worked together to build a modified billboard that harvests and purifies the area’s humid air and wrings it out to produce safe drinking water. All that happens thanks to a reverse-osmosis system that circulates the air through air filters, a vapor condenser, a carbon filter and a cold tank. The resulting clean water is collected in a tank with a spigot, where locals can fill up. The billboard is capable of purifying 100,000 cubic meters of urban air a day, according to the university.

black couch that collects water

A Conservation Idea That Sits Well With Citizens

Residents of Mumbai, India, can relax a bit more about water conservation. That’s because Dutch-Chinese architectural firm MARS, in collaboration with the BMW Guggenheim Lab in Mumbai, has created an outdoor “sofa” for parks that doubles as a rainwater collector during the wet season. Designed to resemble a Chesterfield sofa, the Water Bench is made out of recycled plastic whose seams and grooves divert rainwater to “buttons” that act as water inlets. From there the water flows to a tank inside the sofa. The water then can be used in the dry season to irrigate surrounding parks and grounds where the bench is located, reducing consumption of local supplies.

A Fairy-Tale Story Ending That Holds Water

This clean-water solution is one for the books. WATERisLIFE, a nonprofit group that provides drinking water and sanitation to schools and villages in developing regions, has created the Drinkable Book. While the book’s pages are printed with food-grade ink that offer tips on safe water habits, they also can be used to filter and purify water. The new technology, developed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon and the University of Virginia, uses coffee-filter-like paper that’s coated with silver nanoparticles, which kills diseases such as E. coli, cholera and typhoid on the spot when water is poured through it. Each book costs only pennies to produce and can provide clean water for as many as four years.

For more inspiration on how smart innovations in water are improving citizens’ lives, read the post When a Smart Tool Helps East Africans Tap Into Safe Water.

Do you know of other water innovations that are making a difference in communities? Sign up here, tell us about it and help change the world for the better.

 

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Say the word ‘robot’ and it conjures up a variety of images – some of them are scary, some noisy, some fantastical, some mundane.  Your individual experience influences how your mental image of any given object forms itself.  We’ve been making some incredible leaps in the use of robots or ‘robotics’ over the last decade or so.

Now – imagine your life if your reliance on robots was the only way forward for you…   Henry Evans is the inspiration and instigator of R4H (Robots for Humanity). Henry suffered a tragic stroke when he was 40 years old, rendering him speechless (mute) and quadriplegic. Through robotic technology, Henry continues to find ways to explore and interact with the world.

I, myself, am an avid museum-goer (I minored in Art History during the course of my education).  Hence, I was fascinated by this WONDERFUL usage of robots to give that opportunity to someone who can not be onsite physically.  The robots even give the ‘home-bound’ visitor the chance to interact with people who ARE at the museum.  It certainly is far superior to a still photograph or poster on the wall depicting a particular artwork or sculpture…

 Robots Give Virtual Tours of the de Young Museum

AND

Robot allows those who can’t visit to take

virtual tour of Seattle Art Museum

 

Here’s an interview with Henry Evans from 2013 (credit San Jose Mercury News):  Q&A with Henry Evans, mute quadriplegic and robotics pioneer

While physically limited, Henry’s bright mind has lifted him far beyond his bed.  What other activities might robots give us a chance at which have been out of reach until now??  Your move!

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Creativity is helping drive new solutions that help  conserve water and ensure safe, clean supplies. Read about three ideas awash in innovation.

billboard filled with water

Finding New Signs of Water

In Peru, some researchers are creating advertisements that can make your mouth water. Scientists at the Universidad de Ingenieria y Tecnologia in Barranco and a local ad agency worked together to build a modified billboard that harvests and purifies the area’s humid air and wrings it out to produce safe drinking water. All that happens thanks to a reverse-osmosis system that circulates the air through air filters, a vapor condenser, a carbon filter and a cold tank. The resulting clean water is collected in a tank with a spigot, where locals can fill up. The billboard is capable of purifying 100,000 cubic meters of urban air a day, according to the university.

black couch that collects water

A Conservation Idea That Sits Well With Citizens

Residents of Mumbai, India, can relax a bit more about water conservation. That’s because Dutch-Chinese architectural firm MARS, in collaboration with the BMW Guggenheim Lab in Mumbai, has created an outdoor “sofa” for parks that doubles as a rainwater collector during the wet season. Designed to resemble a Chesterfield sofa, the Water Bench is made out of recycled plastic whose seams and grooves divert rainwater to “buttons” that act as water inlets. From there the water flows to a tank inside the sofa. The water then can be used in the dry season to irrigate surrounding parks and grounds where the bench is located, reducing consumption of local supplies.

A Fairy-Tale Story Ending That Holds Water

This clean-water solution is one for the books. WATERisLIFE, a nonprofit group that provides drinking water and sanitation to schools and villages in developing regions, has created the Drinkable Book. While the book’s pages are printed with food-grade ink that offer tips on safe water habits, they also can be used to filter and purify water. The new technology, developed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon and the University of Virginia, uses coffee-filter-like paper that’s coated with silver nanoparticles, which kills diseases such as E. coli, cholera and typhoid on the spot when water is poured through it. Each book costs only pennies to produce and can provide clean water for as many as four years.

For more inspiration on how smart innovations in water are improving citizens’ lives, read the post When a Smart Tool Helps East Africans Tap Into Safe Water.

Do you know of other water innovations that are making a difference in communities? Sign up here, tell us about it and help change the world for the better.

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The housing industry is employing 3D printing resulting in drastically reduced cost and time using predominantly recycled materials.  The Chinese Company, Winsun, constructs a house by 3D printing the house components and then transporting them to the construction site for fabrication into a home.  The total cost of houses in this manner is approximately $5,000 making them substantially less expensive and more attainable for those in need.

blog 3d printed wallWith this improved production method, 10 houses can be constructed in 24 hours.

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This method contrasts with that of scientists in California, USA.  They propose massive 3D printers for construction and call it Contour Crafting.  The Contour Crafting device has the potential to construct one house in its entirety in less than 24 hours. In addition to dramatically decreasing the cost of construction and the safety risks that come with traditional construction methods, Contour Crafting could help eliminate poor housing conditions in third world countries by providing home construction at a fraction of the price as well as health and environmental risks. It also could provide a cheap, eco-friendly and efficient solution to cramped urban areas and developing countries in need of building more living space for rising numbers of inhabitants.

In either case, this would dramatically change the housing market and enable so many more people to afford their own dwelling.

Do you have the engineering skills to contribute to this industry?

 

 

 

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