Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
April 27th, 2015

Almost everyone has experienced the frustration of trying to get the last bit of a product to shake loose from its container.  It’s virtually impossible to expend a tube of toothpaste completely or get the clinging bits from a can of some products.  Hence, a great deal of waste takes place.

Now there’s a new product, created by Kripa K. Varanasi, a professor of mechanical engineering at M.I.T., and J. David Smith, the graduate student turned chief executive.  They’ve come up with a coating that makes the inside of the bottle permanently wet and slippery.

M.I.T. was sponsoring a $100,000 contest for entrepreneurial ideas. Mr. Smith and Dr. Varanasi decided to enter. Over a weekend, Mr. Smith developed a prototype of a ketchup bottle. Using a video of ketchup sliding out, they were the runner-up and won the Audience Choice Award.  Currently the product is generating interest from food packaging companies.

“The company is also exploring the industrial applications originally envisioned, including coatings for petroleum storage tanks and pipelines. That could not only reduce the energy needed to push materials through the pipes, but also speed cleaning of tanks, with fewer chemicals.”


Profiled by The New York Times, prepare to meet



And be sure to visit the company’s website by clicking the logo below to learn more about their product, their company, and possible job opportunities!



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The word “nerd” has been applied to those of a particularly scholarly or bookish disposition.  (Generally, it’s not used in a complimentary fashion.   It’s also been the name of a candy – but that’s another story altogether.)  Perhaps ‘nerd-i-ness’ will get a better reputation from it being the appellation of a new item:  the Nano-Electro-Robotic Device (NERD) – a robotic germ!  It’s a different slant, and it comes from the University of Illinois-Chicago.

“The research is the latest entry in the first generation of bio-electromechanical devices designed to combine living organism with nonliving technology to conduct research and solve a variety of different problems by using miniature machines too small for the naked eye to see.”


Graphene dot germ

Here, the spore reacts actively to humidity; and the reaction is translated to an electronic response from the interfaced graphene quantum dots. (Credit: Berry Research Laboratory at UIC)

Robotic germ equipped with


graphene quantum dots


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April 17th, 2015

With the almost continual reliance on staying connected nowadays, a dead cell phone battery can be a catastrophic event in one’s daily life.  Remembering to charge that device to keep it functioning has been added to the list of daily items on almost everyone’s “to-do” list.  Now there’s a possible solution to that dilemma…

Tejas Shastry’s busy creating AMPY, a device he and fellow Northwestern Ph.D. students Alex Smith and Mike Geier invented in class. They say it’s a cure for the dead cell phone, turning energy from a person’s physical movement, called kinetic energy, into battery power.

Smith said. “The secret for AMPY really came from taking somewhat existing technology and shrinking it into a form factor that can fit right here in your pocket.”


Read about this invention, profiled by CBS News, here:

Run, walk, bike your way


to a full charge


Not only is this concept a great way to relieve your brain of having to remember to add charging your cell phone into your everyday routine, it’s got the added benefit of stimulating your physical activity to new heights.  The payoff isn’t just being fit and toned, but having a working phone to brag about your exercise accomplishments, as well!  And you’re being ‘green’ by not consuming electricity to recharge your phone!

If you’re interested in this gadget, the unit – along with various accessories – can be pre-ordered on their site:  AMPY cell phone charger logo    Estimated ship date: July 2015, base pricing cost ~$100 USD



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April 15th, 2015

Continuous strides are being made in the field of healthcare.  Research has taken on challenges that were thought to be insurmountable.  New technology is enhancing the methods by which ‘care and cure’ may be offered.

Read this compelling story on a life-changing gadget developed by Tom Bieling.

The glove that transmits


‘touch’ over the internet


“Bieling, a researcher at the Design Lab in Berlin, has developed a glove kitted out with fabric pressure-sensors. By translating a tactile hand touch alphabet into digital text, the mobile glove could eliminate the necessity of hand-to-hand physical contact for deaf-blind communication. Even better, because a great deal of online communication is text-based, the glove could act as a translating device that allows people who are deaf-blind to communicate freely with anyone – and for anyone to communicate with them.”

Tactile glove

In the current version, users can adjust the intensity and speed of the incoming tactile messages according to their reading skills (Design Research Lab)


Is there a job waiting for you in Berlin? Check and see:

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Biodiversity funding is needed in all corners of the world as projects are undertaken to improve our planet.  The European Commission has made a wonderful announcement for the forward progress of environmental projects within the Falkland Islands.  BEST 2.0 (Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in European Outermost Regions and Overseas Countries and Territories) recognizes a need for support of projects on the ground.

The European Commission’s Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (EuropeAid) has two calls for proposals organized in the coming two years, with a total budget of over €6 million for this initiative.  The South Atlantic Environmental Research Institute (SAERI) is the coordinator for the South Atlantic Hub, which includes Ascension Island, St Helena and Tristan da Cunha, the Falkland Islands and South Georgia and South Sandwich Isles.  Read more detail here:

Falkland Islands included in European

funds for environmental projects

SAERI logo SAERI is an academic organisation conducting research in the South Atlantic from the tropics down to the ice in Antarctica. It aims to conduct world class research, teach students, and build capacity within and between the South Atlantic Overseas Territories.Visit the SAERI website www. for further information.


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