Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience

Discovery, exploration, challenges and breakthroughs.  All these elements are part of the continuous changes that take place in the technology landscape around us.  To keep pace and bring us into the future, a new generation of curious minds must be engaged.  Governments and educational institutions across the globe are intent on making that happen!

Read about this program in Africa that seeks to tap into the wonderful reserves of ‘imagination’ within their people…

Botswana Ministry introduces e-nnovation

“Botswana’s Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture (MYSC) is developing ways of getting the local youth to chart the technology waters by coming up with programmes that allow them to be innovative for the benefit of the nation”


And here is the link to the detail page for applications and funding:

Botswana e-nnovation Youth

Empowerment Programme (eYEP)

Opportunities for Africans

There are programs of this sort to be found in all corners of the world – seek out similar opportunities in your area…  Your drive and talent are needed!

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August 27th, 2015

In the “early days” of architectural design, buildings boasted quite small windows to allow for ventilation.  These smaller apertures served the purpose of keeping buildings more snug in the winters, too.  (Tiny openings were also a good deterrent against attacking marauders with their arrows, bullets, and the like.)  Glass was an expensive product, and was generally a sign of the level of wealth of the building owner/occupant.

Photo credit:


My, how times have changed!  Most of the buildings constructed in the 20th century boast glass from top to bottom – and we’ve started to make some big changes in the 21st century, too!

Researchers at the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin are one step closer to delivering smart windows that have a new level of energy efficiency. Their research has created new materials that allow windows to transmit light without transferring heat, or conversely to block light while allowing heat transmission.  The materials are controlled by a small voltage applied by the building occupants.

University of Texas Develops


More Energy Efficient Window


 “We believe our deliberately crafted nanocrystal-based materials could meet the performance and cost targets needed to progress toward commercialization of smart windows,” says engineering professor, Delia Milliron.


Green building is a burgeoning field – how will you contribute??

(…and, as a bonus, if you click on the picture above, you can read a fascinating story about Château de Cazemajou in Montazels and the mystery surrounding its priest. I love these speculative reconstructions of lifetimes past.  There are some fabulous architectural photos to enjoy on the site as well…)


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August 25th, 2015

While there’s been a lot of hype that has induced fear among many that they may someday be passed over in favor of a machine, this shouldn’t discourage you.  While automation has certainly had an effect on everyday life – think of the changeover from horse-drawn carriages to mechanized vehicles – a.k.a. cars! – the horse hasn’t lost his/her ability to signifcantly contribute to the “labor force”.  It’s true that the role of the animal may have undergone a transformation; but, they certainly haven’t become totally obsolete!

Here’s a great article about what we humans may have to look forward to as technology continues its steady march forward:



Photo credit:

In a widely-circulated article in Harvard Business Review, Thomas H. Davenport and Julia Kirby outline what workers can do to ensure they thrive in an era of advanced artificial intelligence.

 Their five strategies for adapting to life in the robotic age are: Step up or find a job a computer cannot do; step aside or choose a career that requires specific human toolset like empathy; step in or monitor and modify the work of computers; step narrowly or find a specialty that wouldn’t be economical to automate; and step forward or develop the next generation of computing and AI tools.”


So, is your current curriculum preparing you to be one of the humans that will rise above the machines?  Or will you play a part in educating the children of today to do so?  There’s unlimited opportunity to be a difference maker – for yourself or someone younger than you – use your human smarts to identify ways that will benefit all of us!

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August 17th, 2015

While bacterial spores are not the stuff of everyday delight (at least, not among the vast majority of the world’s population), there’s a conversational buzz about them that might just provide a lot of happy to a lot of the planet.  Producing energy to power our many gadgets and gizmos – not to mention fueling our transporatation and warming or cooling our homes – is a BIG concern.  As we seek new ways that are ecologically-minded to accomplish that goal, there’s research afoot to harness the power in an unlikely source.

Bioengineers from Columbia University have demonstrated a technique for powering small devices using nothing more than changes in atmospheric humidity.  This technique uses ‘water power’, via evaporation, to create ENERGY!  And the hope is that powering these small devices will be scalable to larger applications.  Biology, chemistry and engineering unite and…

“…new research shows that bacterial spores can be used to actively convert humidity into energy and force, potentially powering all kinds of machines and devices.”


Photo credit: Mindbug Studio

Read this piece from Discovery News and watch the videos shared there:

Hot and Humid?


There’s Energy in That


So, next time you’re caught in the sticky weather, think of the uses for all the perspiration you’re enveloped in that’s evaporating without you having to do a thing…  Makes you feel like a human battery charger, doesn’t it?

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August 13th, 2015

A smile conveys SO much in your personal interactions.  It can be interpreted as a sign of love, encouragement or friendliness.  There’s a whole marketing blitz that’s currently hit the advertising world about products designed to enhance our smiles.  In former days, when dental hygiene was not as prevalent, there were few – old or young, rich or poor – who could lay claim to having a dazzling, perfect smile.  For some today, illness has robbed them of the confidence to display a toothsome grin to the world.

Enter 3-D Tech dentistry research, courtesy of scientists at U Alberta in Canada…  make sure to check out the video and the inspiring photos in this piece!

Designing 3-D smiles


for cancer survivors


Working with surgeons and prosthodontists at iRSM, …CT scan images of a patient’s head [are turned] into a 3-D model with the aid of computer software. iRSM has a very special advanced digital technology laboratory, the Medical Modelling Research Laboratory, which is equipped to design and simulate surgery at the Misericordia Community Hospital, Covenant Health Group in Edmonton.


University of Alberta offers both a Master’s degree & PhD in Rehabilitation Science – could your work dovetail?  Perhaps you’ll be leading the way in a pioneering technology that offers a new reason to SMILE!

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