Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience

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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Bikes made from bamboo are becoming the latest rage.

HERObike does it a little differently -  featuring a composite frame that adds bamboo, balsa wood and 3-D printed parts to the mix.

blog ebike

Using 3-D printing technology, the sides are joined to one another (and to the rest if the bike) using a series of 3D-printed spacers.  Together, those side panels and spacers form the frame.

Once completed, the bike will utilize a SRAM E-matic rear hub motor and rack-mounted battery.  Sounds like a sweet ride, but it doesn’t come cheap.  The price is expected to be around $2,500-$3,000 USD.

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April 23rd, 2015

Energy is infinite and indestructible, so we’re told…matter can neither be created nor destroyed.  However, we earthlings seem to be doing a pretty good job of using up all our planet’s natural resources at a dangerously fast clip.  And some regions lag far behind the developed world in having ‘modern’ power available to them at all.

Here’s an exclusive interview from CleanTechnica that gives some news about combining methods to create solutions.  A partnership has been formed between between SunEdison and Imergy to provide electricity to villages in India that are “off grid”.  The end goal is 5,000 villages in India alone, and even more in Africa and other regions where gaping holes in the electrical grid exist.  Imergy CEO, Bill Watkins, had this to say, “…scaling up conventional batteries is not an efficient solution for rural electrification, because they don’t separate energy from power.“  Be sure to check out the video from Imergy in the article that gives even more detail:


Double-Teaming Diesel


With Solar & Energy Storage


(CT Exclusive Interview)


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Renewable energy could provide a cheap and immediate source of power to those who need it most – especially those thrown into chaos by war (including refugee camps), famine or natural disaster.

UK entrepreneur, John Hingley, founder of Renovagen has developed a lightweight roller solar panel designed to be deployed in war zones and remote locations.  The panel is designed as a bendable solar panel sheet which is a patented solar system called RollArray – a 9mm thick photovoltaic sheet that “rolls up like a carpet.”

blog rollarray

The RollArray claims to be 10 times more powerful than any other transportable solar generator of the same size, and that a 20ft container can house a system capable of producing 100 kilowatts at peak performance.

Daniel Becerra, co-founder of BuffaloGrid, wants to relieve some strife by enabling mobile phones to be charged in off-grid locations. The UK company has developed a small portable unit resembling a toolbox which users can plug their phones into to charge. The BuffaloGrid Hub can run off any power source, including solar panels. There’s a huge demand for this because many of the world’s poorest people, while lacking a power supply, have their own mobile phones.

Bboxx, which sells off-grid solar systems core product is a solar home system, known as the BB17, which contains a 17 amp battery encased in a control unit. This allows people in cut-off regions to power a range of standard appliances.

Do you have any expertise in this arena?  or would any of these solar solutions help you to develop other great ideas for leaving a smaller footprint?

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April 13th, 2015

Air quality has been a hot button issue for some time.  There are myriad stories in the media, online and just overheard as conversations about the areas of the planet suffering most from the decay in the quality of the air around us.  It’s important to know that there are groups concerned about this issue in multiple countries.

Here’s a press release from the EDF (Environmental Defense Fund) an organization in the United States that’s taking a stand:

Gas MaskMore Than Half a Million Americans

Call for Better Health Protections from Smog


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is proposing to update our national standards for ground-level ozone, the scientific name for smog.

Do you have a technology in development to help achieve cleaner, more breathable air for everyone?

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