Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
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 16th, 2015

DIY electronics are all the rage these days.  A new kit called MESH (Make, Experience, Share) is intended to make coming up with your own clever projects easier than ever.  From customized alarm clocks to trash cans that thank you for recycling, it’s claimed to open up a host of possibilities for amateur inventors.

MESH is a creative DIY platform that lets you make your own “smart projects” in just minutes.  No coding required!  Simply drag and drop.

Do you have any processes that you’d like to build a solution for?  Maybe MESH is something useful for the project you are working on.

There is a wealth of information about this new kit here.  Sets are available to order for $119 and above. Delivery of the first kits is estimated for May. View the video below for a guide to some of MESH’s key features.

YouTube Preview Image

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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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March 6th, 2015

Katharina Unger, founder of Austrian collaborative design studio Livin, has been busy. She is one of a number of designers and startups who want to see the kitchen become more symbiotic with food production.

To help achieve this, Unger has designed Farm 432, a device that allows people to grow their own protein source at home by breeding black soldier flies – the “432” refers to the number of hours it would take 1g of fly eggs to produce 2.4kg of larvae protein (equivalent to £22 worth of minced lamb from your average London butcher).

blog flies

“Insects can totally disrupt the way we currently produce food”, says Unger. “I wanted to enable people to take advantage of this and independently produce their own food at home. I think part of our future food production lies in decentralised systems.”

And, in collaboration with Utrecht University, Katharina Unger has developed the Fungi Mutarium, a prototype to grow fungi food from plastic waste, not to mention accompanying fungi cutlery.

So how does the Fungi Mutarium work? At its most simple, bits of plastic are placed into egg-shaped containers made from agar, the fungi is inserted and consumes the plastic, and the result is edible mushroom material.

This is one enterprising woman – she has launched her business around the most unlikely of processes.  Do you have any great new ideas to launch yours?

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March 3rd, 2015

While cleanliness is something that can be a ‘hot-button’ topic, it’s also a question of degree…  Here’s a story about a change in thought patterns concerning the materials that actually go into creating clothing.

“Scientists and designers are increasingly looking at ways to blur the boundaries between biology and fashion.”  Whether you’re a guy or a gal, this new concept of what you put into your wardrobe may change fashion and make hand-me-downs a thing of the past…  Sustainability and functionality – can you be part of the move to more eco-friendly clothing?

Would you wear a wedding


dress made from fungus?

From wedding dresses grown from tree mulch to clothes made from yeast, bacteria and even mouse cells –

welcome to the world of homegrown fashion

 Grow your clothesScobyTec’s biker jacket. Photograph: Marcel Wiessler

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