Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience

Philips has just announced their 2014 Innovation Fellows winner. VoiceItt, developer of the voice recognition software TalkItt, is the grand prize winner of the second annual Philips Innovation Fellows competition.

blog talkitt

TalkItt empowers people with motor, speech or language disorders to easily communicate. By recognizing the user’s vocal patterns, the app will translate unintelligible pronunciation from any language into understandable speech via a smartphone, tablet or computer.

Just think of the possibilities – this new program will give a voice to those, who typically, can’t communicate. This is a truly revolutionary product.

Do you have the skills to make this world a better place for those in need of communication tools?

Also, please keep an eye out for the 2015 Philips Innovation Fellows competition as this is an annual event. Do you have an idea for the next big thing in health and well-being? Do you want to help change the world? If so, please share your idea with Philips.

You never know, you may be the 2015 winner!

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Although Ebola is grabbing the headlines, the human cost of hospital-acquired infections is also concerning: About 1.7 million people in the U.S. contract an infection each year resulting in 99,000 deaths. Read about three smart innovations that are helping medical establishments wipe the slate clean by eradicating pathogens.

IntelligneM bracelt

Getting the Upper Hand on Hospital Infections

We all like to think we’ll be in good hands if we have to hospitalized. More important is to be in clean hands. With about one in every 25 people admitted to a hospital in the U.S. ending up with a healthcare-acquired infection, frequent hand washing by medical personnel is crucial to reducing that rate. The intelligentM bracelet device aims to make it easier for staff to keep tabs on who is washing up and who isn’t. The bracelet, worn by doctors, nurses and other staff who are in contact with patients, uses RFID tags to communicate with sensors located in areas where washing is required. It recognizes the movements associated with hand washing and the application of sanitizers. If it detects that hand hygiene is being performed, it buzzes to let staff know and an electronic record is provided to management.

Using Smart Sheets to Put Infectious Bacteria to Bed

Hospital patients may soon sleep better knowing they’re sleeping safer. That’s because Australia’s RMIT University, working with scientists from the country’s national science agency CSIRO, have developed an antibacterial fabric for use in medical facilities that are capable of killing off E. coli and other infectious bacteria within 10 minutes of contact. By embedding so-called nanowires coated with a silver solution into cotton textiles, silver ions are slowly released in the material, which then attack bacteria. The researchers say the fabric could be used in hospital bedding, linens and surgical aprons to help eliminate healthcare-acquired infections.

Robot to terminate germs

Doing the Robot to Terminate Germs

To put the zap on lingering viruses and bacteria, some hospitals are seeing disinfection in a completely different light. That’s because robots, made by Xenex, are rolling in rooms after standard cleanings to wipe out any remaining pathogens with pulsed, high-intensity xenon ultraviolet light that is 25,000 times brighter than fluorescent light. The process takes about 15 minutes to clean a room. According to the company, the robots are on standby at the U.S. Air Force Hospital in Langley, Virginia, to destroy any potential Ebola-like viruses.

For more inspiration on how smart innovations in healthcare are benefitting citizens and communities, read the post How Citizens, Technology Help Track and Attack Ebola Outbreak.

What is your community doing to improve healthcare? Sign up here to tell us about it and help change the world for the better.

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University College Cork
(2B)OR!(2B): From the Beehive to the Cloud and Back
Fiona Edwards Murphy, Liam O’Leary, Killian Troy, Lily Pinson and Katie Hetherington
Cloud and Mobile used to monitor honeybees in the hive.




Boston University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Street Bumps and Big Data Analytics:  Crowdsourcing Our Way to Better Roads
Theodora Brisimi, Yue Zhang, Wuyang Dai, Setareh Ariafar, Nicholis Baladis
Analytics to crowd source the path to better roads



Delft University of Technology
Proposal for IEEE/IBM Smarter Planet Challenge
Amir Piltan, Nicolas Kramer Floyd, Olac Grouwstra
Cloud based analytics platform for health care SMEs


RainbowSwinburne University of Technology, Malaysia
Project Lily
Ting Yang, Kah Hung, Poh Ling Hung
Crowd sourced environmental monitoring



Sun-Yat Sen University and South China University of Technology
Self Medical
Jianghong Zhou, Zixiao Yang, Cindy Chen, Heng Du, Jujie Peng
Mining medical data for improved health care

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November 21st, 2014

Some believe in a form of external ‘cosmic’ guidance concerning seemingly random events.  Others simply don’t.  Then along comes FATE  (FAll DeTector for the Elderly) which could be a key to assisting the elderly to have more independent lifestyles.  This product is literally putting fate in the hands of those who may feel a keen sense of loss of control of their own destinies!

This is done by implementing an accurate, portable and usable fall detector that runs a complex and specific algorithm to accurately detect falls, and a robust and reliable telecommunications layer based in ZigBee and Bluetooth technologies, capable of sending alarms when the user is both inside and outside the home.

The system is being tested and validated in 3 pilot studies involving real living scenarios, one in each of 3 different EU countries (Spain, Italy and Ireland), in close collaboration with the relevant public authorities (regional authorities in Spain, municipalities in Italy and National authorities in Ireland).

Read about it and watch the videos here:

Fall Detector for the Elderly



(The research is being conducted in partnership with Polytechnic University of Catalonia/Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech.  They are one organization among those forming a consortium for the project.  Job opps for you perhaps?)

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November 11th, 2014

People are usually given a breathalyser test to determine whether they are over the legal limit for alcohol consumption.  Here’s a more pleasant application of this testing – - -

Breathalyser used to diagnose

dolphin health


Students Dolphin encounter image by Ste Elmore, CC BY 2.0at UC Davis are working on helping dolphins and other marine life.  It looks like wet but happy work…

And honestly, how could you not smile back for this face? [Dolphin encounter image by Ste Elmore, CC BY 2.0]


Perhaps current human breathalyzer testing will expand to being a diagnostic tool for people, too!   There are ideas in the works – check out this article:  Sports concussion ‘breathalyser’ proposed  Scientists at the University of Birmingham in the U.K. are developing a “breathalyser” to detect concussions, which will be used to prevent brain injuries among athletes, especially children.

And, should you manage to pick up the April 2014 issue of Journal of Medical Engineering & Technology, there’s an interesting research article on this topic [Designing breathalyser technology for the developing world: how a single breath can fight the double disease burden (Authors: Sarah Krisher, Alison Riley, and Khanjan Mehta, Vol. 38, No. 3 , Pages 156-163(doi:10.3109/03091902.2014.890678)]  Abstract: The meteoric rise in the prevalence of non-communicable diseases, alongside already high rates of infectious diseases, is exacerbating the ‘double disease burden’ in the developing world. There is a desperate need for affordable, accessible and ruggedized diagnostic tools that detect diseases early and direct patients to the correct channels. Breath analysis, the science of utilizing biomarkers in the breath for diagnostic measures, is growing rapidly, especially for use in clinical diagnostic settings. Breathalyser technologies are improving scientifically, but are not yet ready for productization and dissemination to address healthcare challenges. How does one ensure that these new biomedical devices will be suitable for use in developing communities? This article presents a comprehensive review of breath analysis technologies followed by a discussion on how such devices can be designed to conform with WHO’s ASSURED criteria so as to reach and sustain in developing countries where they are needed the most.


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