Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience

There is yet another alternative to solar panels, fuel cells, muscle-powered dynamos, wind turbines, AC-charged back-up batteries and other portable power solutions.

Drumroll please….

Announcing Blue Freedom, “The world’s smallest hydropower plant” which transforms the power of running water into phone chatting, internet browsing, music listening, GPS navigating and other mobile device activities, and it does so from a package built to fit in a backpack. Judging from the results of their Kickstarter campaign where they raised almost double what they were seeking, I’d say this product is well anticipated.

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Developed in Germany, the Blue Freedom charging kit consists of a 4.7-in (12-cm-) -diameter micro turbine, a 5W generator and a 5,000 mAh lithium-polymer internal battery. The turbine takes a plunge into a running water body and the unit’s base stays ashore, letting you charge devices directly by way of the USB 2A and 1A ports. You can also store energy in the integrated battery for later use. A built-in LED light helps you see at night.

According to the governments of US and Canada, two world leaders in hydropower production, hydropower is the most efficient means of generating electricity, transforming up to 90 percent of available water energy into usable electricity. Compare that to around 15 percent for solar panels, and you can start to see why a portable hydropower charger could prove quite superior.

In addition to charging gadgets during outdoor travel and adventure, Blue Freedom sees its technology as a viable solution for those that live off the power grid. Assuming they have access to running water, they could harvest their own electricity to use for cell phones, lighting and other important everyday devices.

If all goes as planned, deliveries will get underway in October. And for all of you campers, this sounds like a great product to pack for those fishing trips you may be planning.

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Happy fishing!


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For those with allergies,  a ‘no pets’ policy can be a welcome salvation.  These types of rules generally apply to 4-legged furry creatures; but, the regulations have been extended as folks have gotten more “creative” in their choice of non-human companions for the home.  I recall (with somewhat of a shudder), the glass box of Tarantulas that graced the bedside table of a guy friend of mine.  Don’t know what became of him – or the arachnids – but, I do know that fish are often in a nebulous gray area when it comes to those pesky pet policies.  Their mini-homes within your home can range from a glass jar filled with water to some really impressive tanks, with all sorts of acoutrements to make the inhabitants feel like they are back in their native locale.

There are a lot of fishy people in the world (I leave the interpretation of that up to you!) Two of them, Yoon Hoon and his friend and co-founder, Andy Zhong, have come up with a nifty gadget to give your finny little friends a CLEAN place to frolic – no human intervention required!!  The product has been debuted and promoted at Hax Demo day in San Francisco and the inaugural CES Asia event in Shanghai last May, as well as the 2014 Mini Maker Faire, in Shenzhen, China.

Read about the




AquaTrek is an all-in-one cleaning, monitoring, and surveillance tool. Much like the Roomba, it is a largely autonomous, utilizing an aquatic scrubber and auto sensing technology to perform its duties.


The pair have a start-up and you can sign up for their email list here: Moai Devices

What a great use of Robotics and Sensor tech!  If you’ve got an idea that seems ‘out there’, maybe reading about these guys will spark you into acting on your brain-child… It might be the next big thing!

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A music product that was pitched on the wildly popular American TV show Shark Tank has morphed into technology for speech impaired individuals.

DrumPants‘ creators have recently started a beta test program that uses DrumPants triggers (sensor strips that wirelessly connect to a control box) to control lights and doors and to give a voice to those who have none. People with injuries or disorders that limit their ability to speak can tap the trigger on their body or wheelchair to activate an app that reads out loud any customizable statements or text messages, thereby enabling them to communicate more effectively with others.

A tap on the trigger activates an app on the user’s smartphone or tablet. This app can be configured to play back pre-recorded speech or read out a customizable statement. It also integrates with text-to-speech functionality to allow mobility-impaired people to listen to their emails or text messages. And it can even allow them to answer incoming phone calls.

Take a look:

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This product has the potential to greatly enhance the quality of life for so many.


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August 14th, 2015

I saw this on the news a little over a month ago and can’t stop thinking about how ingenious it is!

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Samsung’s prototype “Safety Truck” offers view of the road ahead (Credit: Samsung)

Many people take unnecessary risks when driving behind big semi-trailers if they want to pass because they can’t see what’s ahead (if anything).  Now Samsung Electronics has come up with a way to help reduce this problem by mounting cameras on the front of a truck and large screens on the rear to display to following drivers a clear view of the road ahead.

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Again, as with so many great ideas, it’s taking basic existing technology and combining them in a way that makes sense.  It’s very refreshing to see a large company take a role to develop something that doesn’t necessarily grow their profits, but with the goal of saving lives.



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Sponsored by SC Johnson, the Green Chemistry Conference will bring together a wide range of influential speakers and delegates, ranging from CEOs and sustainability directors to scientific researchers and public health advocates, to analyze the challenges companies at all levels of the supply chain face when taking a ‘Green chemistry’ approach & consider how they might be tackled.  In addition to keynotes and panel discussions, the event will include hands-on working groups that will bring delegates together to share information and brainstorm ideas around the opportunities and risks in green chemistry today.

Don’t wait if you want to participate as there are fewer than 60 tickets still available.  If you would like to attend, please click here to register.

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