Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience

The following post was provided to us by Emmanuel Balami from the University Putra in Malaysia.  Thank you, Emmanuel, for sharing this news about your work!

High-Tech Public Utility Management

Following global concerns about Sustainable Development, and Environmental issues, it has become imperative to innovate, so, the idea of using embedded systems and ICT to help our world efficiently manage resource. These resources (water, energy, and food) are not only scarce but grossly mismanaged or wasted by the public. This module is a contribution in facilitating Responsible ConsumptionChange of Attitude by the public toward public utility, especially where governments subsidise these resources for the poor and also to schools and large populations. Organisations/countries that are providing aids to poor countries may wish to take advantage of this module in providing services to humanity, and also, there will be no need for subsidy coupons for countries offering that.

Here are some photos that show the system components and a demo:

Emmanuel util mgt demo2   Emmanuel util mgt demo   Emmanuel util mgt demo5Emmanuel util demo 3



Additional information on the project may be obtained by contacting Emmanuel Luke (bel) BALAMI

balami emmanuel luke - bel

Emmanuel wishes to thank IBM-USA, for funding this project to a successful execution, and Wendy Murphy, for selecting this project & her unflinching support and guidance.  And, if you’d like to learn more about Universiti Putra Malaysia, please click the logo:  Putra U (Malaysia) logo

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September 10th, 2015

For many of us, it’s a real feat to remember to add something just used up to our shopping list.  Well, lucky for us, the trashcan just got smart!

The GeniCan attaches to a trashcan so it can be used to scan barcodes of items as they are thrown out. They can then be added to a list or automatically reordered.

Check out this cute video which puts a fun spin on GeniCan‘s functionality:

YouTube Preview Image

Once installed, the GeniCan is connected to a home Wi-Fi network, via which it cross-references scanned barcodes against a UPC database and sends all data to its cloud service.  The cloud service, in turn, sends info to the accompanying smartphone app.

When an item is scanned, it can be added to a user’s shopping list, coupons for it sourced if available or, potentially, automatically reordered.  If an item does not have a barcode, it can be held in front of the GeniCan sensor until a voice prompt asks what needs to be added to the user’s shopping list.  A microphone coupled with voice-to-text technology allows users to tell the device what is required and have it show up in the app’s shopping list.

What a great time saver for those shoppers you see in the grocery aisle with a puzzled look on their faces trying to recall what else they were supposed to buy (myself included!).

This product would make making trash a more productive (and for some fun) activity!

blog trash


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We frequently hear that eating fish is a healthy thing to do, because it’s full of beneficial long chain fatty acids. Unfortunately, the Western diet tends to be short on fish and bigger on beef, which contains short chain fatty acids that aren’t quite so good for us. Chinese scientists are creating a work-around, however – genetically-engineered beef that’s high in the “good” fatty acids.

blog cowfish

This cowfish is here to make this a colorful blog post

Fish is a prime source of long chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, more commonly known as omega-3 oils, which help protect against obesity, cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative disorders. The short chain fatty acids in beef are known as n-6.

In order to turn n-6 into n-3, a research team from China’s Northwest A and F University, and National Beef Cattle Improvement Centre, first isolated the fat1 gene from a nematode worm. That gene codes for desaturase enzymes, which play a key role in converting n-6 fatty acids to n-3.

While the research is still ongoing, I wonder how many of us would want to take the plunge and eat this new type of beef.

I guess we could order our “omega-burger” at McDonald’s golden arches and feel that we are eating healthier at least.


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Bubbles – of the soapy variety – are one of the fun memories of childhood.  Even with all the tech toys available, we’ve still got a fascination with these iridescent globes hovering gently in the air and then popping with a tiny splash as the pressure in the bubble or its contact with some immovable object causes it to ‘disappear’.  Childlike glee can have applications at an adult level, as has been put forward in the journal Physical Review Letters by biomedical engineering researcher Sunghwan Jung of Virginia Tech.

“Jung suggests that cavitation could be used as a method for cleaning produce without chemicals, pulling microbes and dirt off the surface of fruits and vegetables.”

Read the short piece featured here on Discovery News:

Behold the Inexorable




Power of … Bubbles!


Glistening and glowing – bubbles may hold a key to helping us “clean up our act” – and clean up the planet!!

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August 2nd, 2015

Sustainability at its best!  At a recent music festival, Danish Agriculture & Food Council opted to put liquid gold to good use.  A beercycling project dubbed “From piss to pilsner” invited attendees to leave deposits for local farmers to use as fertilizer for barley crops grown to make beer.

blog urine

“The beercycling project is certainly a fascinating proposal for a sustainable solution where urine isn’t just sent down the drain, but becomes a useful resource,” said Henrik Rasmussen, Managing Director of the Roskilde Festival. “It is a project which extends beyond the festival itself and it underlines that the Roskilde Festival is a fantastic laboratory for testing new sustainable solutions that could benefit society.”

Waste from collectors and specially-designed storage tanks will go on to fertilize the barley crops in nearby fields. That malting barley will then be used to make beer for the 2017 music festival.

Talk about reduce, reuse and recycle!!

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