Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
Education
March 31st, 2015
5:56
 

The World Health Organization (WHO) is launching a new policy on injection safety and a global campaign with support from the IKEA Foundation and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to help all countries tackle the pervasive issue of unsafe injections.

Federal Minister for Development Gerd Muller, Gavi CEO Seth Berkley and Gavi Deputy CEO Anaradha Gupta pictured at the moment pledges to Gavi reached US$ 7.5 billion (Credit: GAVI/2015)

Federal Minister for Development Gerd Muller, Gavi CEO Seth Berkley and Gavi Deputy CEO Anaradha Gupta pictured at the moment pledges to Gavi reached US$ 7.5 billion (Credit: GAVI/2015)

WHO calls for worldwide

 

use of ‘smart’ syringes

 

The spread of infectious diseases from our traditional syringe system has risen alarmingly.  It’s time for measures that will halt disease proliferation.  Do you have some ideas for ‘smarter’ healthcare products?  Your idea may save lives!

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Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) (such as EdX and Coursera) have initiated a revolution in higher education by providing opportunities for interested students to learn from the comfort of their individual locations at their desired pace. However, an important and highly successful aspect of traditional classroom education, which is modulating content delivery based on understanding real-time student feedback, is conspicuously missing in such e-learning environments.While existing e-learning environments provide a basic technology framework, the personalization of such environments with human-in-the-loop feedback is still missing. This project, e-DRIShTI, aims to bridge this gap by developing a system for automatic recognition of students’ engagement levels during e-learning sessions, using advanced computer vision and machine learning methods.

Considering the ubiquitous presence of cameras in consumer devices such as tablets and laptops, it is possible now to develop a system that can detect and recognize student engagement levels from the face images captured by the camera during the e-learning sessions. Such a system has several applications towards smarter, personalized e-learning environments: (i) it can allow for content to be modified based on a student’s engagement level; (ii) it can be used as feedback for curriculum development; (iii) it can potentially be used as a diagnostic for early detection of learning disabilities; and (iv) it can be stored and archived as part of students’ learning portfolios which can later be mined or analyzed for providing feedback to the students. In general, this project can lead to a more concerted, larger effort on automatically obtaining real-time student feedback – including other states such as confusion, boredom, excitement and interest – towards an effective personalized e-learning experience.

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March 27th, 2015
5:39
 

Botany is an exciting field.  Plant life has been cataloged, drawn/painted/photographed, distilled, and used for both nutritional and medicinal purposes for centuries.  However, overharvesting and pollution have caused many varieties to suffer and/or become extinct.  Among our goals to save the planet, plant life takes a high priority.

Read about studies taking place in South Africa to capitalize on the health-giving properties of indigenous plants.  This research could bring about economic as well as life-saving benefits!

SceletiumScientists break

 

botanical boundaries

 

And make a visit to the website for Stellenbosch University, where this research is taking place.

 

 

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This story featured in Smithsonian almost brought actual tears to my eyes.  While a chocolate flavor crisis is not at the top of most peoples’ minds, my love of that particular food-stuff is unquenchable. Sooo – I thought I’d share this article, as well as links to some of the organizations that are working to keep chocolate chocolatey.

We’ve done a LOT of tinkering with food – chemicals, cloning, grain-free, organic, gluten-free, etc., etc.  Undeniably, food shortages remain a CONSTANT source of concern world-wide.  “Waste not, want not” are words to live by – but, if foods become “Taste not”, will that lead to ‘want not’, too? That’s the concern of food manufacturers…

What cookery wizardry can you add to the recipe?  If you can bring out some new technology that’s safe for the Earth and helps save the flavor of foods, you’re sure to be popular!

How to Save the Chocolate Tree

Without Sacrificing Flavor

 

Choco splash

Check out these programs dedicated to being “flavor savers”

Heirloom Cacao Preservation Initiative—a partnership between the FCIA and the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service.

Wilbert Phillips-Mora is head of the Cacao Genetic Improvement Program at the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) in Costa Rica.

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March 11th, 2015
6:37
 

Bionics used to be the stuff of fantasy and featured grandly on several U.S. television series.  In the world of everyday life, there are a good number of individuals who, for reasons of birth defect, disease or as the result of a (usually) shocking accident do not enjoy  ‘freedom’ of motion and sensory perception.  Until now, prosthetic replacements for amputated limbs have been limited to those with superlative insurance to cover the cost of these devices.  We hope that is about to change…

A company in Argentina – Bioparx Health Technology – has developed a state-of-the-art bionic arm for less than half of what the others cost.   Read about their technology here:  Smart Prosthetics

Bionic hand

Photo credit: bioparx site

And pay a visit to the bioparx company site to see if there’s a place for you to contribute (or be inspired to envision the next generation of their products…).  The site is in Spanish, so if you’re bilingual, this may be a great fit for you!  BIOPARX.COM 

You may also want to pay a visit to Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden where they, too, are working on bionic technologies.

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