Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience

With little electronic backpacks installed on their backs, giant flower beetles are being remotely controlled while in free flight. Scientists from the University of California, Berkeley and Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) gained insight into how the insects fly and identified the use of these beetles in areas such as search-and-rescue.

The thought of these little bugs sporting backpacks makes me chuckle, but if they will be of service with search-and-rescue, I’m all for it!

blog beetleThe beetles were first placed in a closed room equipped with eight 3D motion-capture cameras. Using radio signals transmitted to the backpack once every millisecond, the researchers selectively stimulated different muscles. By doing so, they were able to get the insects to take off, turn left or right, or hover in place.

Similar research is being conducted at North Carolina State University, except instead of beetles, they are testing with cockroaches.  It seems fitting that some of the peskiest bugs are put to work for us.

It might be fun to be the one to train these beetles (or cockroaches) in a very high tech way and have them follow your commands – releasing the inner animal trainer in you.

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The concept is a rolling classroom; its purpose is to bring hands-on tech education to classrooms and build interest in students for science and math as fun subjects.

Where there’s a spark, there’s a flame – and the blaze is growing!!  This Stanford University (California, USA) rolling classroom is reaching both students and teachers alike…

Read about their beginnings and their continuing journey here:



And if you’re inspired by their success, maybe this is a project you and your fellow students will want to take on at your university!  Click the pic for a guide…



Where will you roll?

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Paper maps have been used by humankind ever since it was necessary to document a location’s specifics for others.  Often, a map served to delineate boundaries or help groups travel to a previously unvisited destination – and there are a host of other uses for mapping.  More recently, maps have been added into the functionality of a myriad of handheld electronic devices – enhancing searchability and portability of a vast repository of information in a mobile device (no folding required!).

Now things have taken a step further…  Ordnance Survey has released a mapping tool which pulls together geographical, transportation and other types of local information including statistics on crime and other data

Read about it here:

Ordnance Survey releases


OpenMap mapping data


OpenMap UK

Source: OS OpenMap User Guide

The level of detail provided in a map of this type may revolutionize cartography…  At the very least, it’s another great way to keep yourself from getting lost!

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May 13th, 2015

The TV news is always bombarding us with stories of abductions and missing persons.  Carrying a cell phone doesn’t always give you added protection if you don’t have time to make a call during a threatening event.  Here’s a story on some tech that might help bridge that gap…it’s called Revolar and it’s

A Wearable That Promises


To Keep You Safe


“Jacqueline Ros, the CEO and Founder of Revolar came up with the idea for the product after her young sister had been attacked multiple times. She wished that her sister had had a “magic button” to call for help.”

Check out the Kickstarter Campaign and the Revolar product website.   Revolar logo

Is there work that you’re doing to help improve the safety of yourself and others?  Contribute to the Students For a Smarter planet blog and tell us about it!


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Meet Spinute: an app to help you save time and cut costs – really great for any person who doesn’t own a personal washer/dryer (or have someone to do the laundry for them!)

Designed by Adem Onalan, Tahnee Pantig and Louise-Anne van ‘t Riet, from the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York City. Spinute is specifically for users of laundromats.  For those on a tight time-line, this could be the answer!

“What Spinute offers is a platform that is accessible to a larger audience at the low to middle income level. It offers an affordable alternative to the laundry experience while still saving time and money for the user.”

Spinute: A Laundromat SpinuteApp “By the Minute”  

(Don’t miss out on the User Experience video in the linked article…)

 Do you have any thoughts on timed activities for which an app would be useful in helping to organize people’s days?  Think how fabulous you can look pitching your idea in your newly cleaned clothes!

(Now if someone would come up with a product that does my ironing at warp-speed for a low cost, I’d be really grateful…)

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