Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
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For all of you 3D or automobile production experts out there.  Here are some of the latest announcements utilizing both technologies.

Automobiles have made great strides in recent years in becoming cleaner and greener, but according to Divergent Microfactories, they still have miles to go. The problem, as the company sees it, is that while powertrains have become cleaner thanks to the use of alternative energy sources like battery power and fuel cells, manufacturing is dirtier than ever. The start-up puts forth a solution in the all-new Blade, which it calls “the world’s first 3D-printed supercar.”

“A far greater percentage of a car’s total emissions come from the materials and energy required to manufacture it,” Kevin Czinger explained during a keynote speech at the recent O’Reilly Solid Conference. “How we make cars is actually a much bigger problem than how we fuel our cars.”

Take a look at the production of a Divergent supercar:

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Another big player in the 3D-printed car industry, Local Motors, will be testing its latest product at University of Michigan as part of a 12 month trial.

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The SmartCart is one of three vehicles being built for the university’s study, and will be used to research and develop low-speed autonomous features. It will also be used to develop an Uber-style mobile phone interface that allows students to call a car for transit across campus – a process that involves managing supply and demand, as well as working out the best way to efficiently direct a fleet of cars around campus.

While tooling around the Local Motors website I found some great information for any of you that are product developers – they have a program where you can submit your ideas.  If any of those ideas come to market, you will be paid for your talent:

“A percentage of total revenue for every co-created product is reserved for the community members who contributed to it.”

Good luck to any who partake of this opportunity!

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August 1st, 2015
5:54
 

With so many demands pulling us in every direction, there’s often precious little time to decompress (or none at all!!)  Studies from a variety of sources have shown that stress affects both your physical and mental well-being.  While it would be really nice to have an afternoon nap like babies & toddlers get, the practicality of this ‘luxury’ in most parts of the world is not going to allow that to happen on a mass scale.

Read this story to see how technology called Muse can help to bring you a calming state of being:

Brain-Sensing Headband

Helps Users Manage Stress

 

Muse headband

The headband uses EEG sensors that detect the brain’s electrical activity. Users are then asked to participate in a three-minute guided exercise that aims to reduce stress, calm anxiety and increase focus and concentration.

Visit the Muse site to learn more:  Muse

 

The funny thing is, technology is often blamed for the freneticism of our current existence.  To put it to use as a de-stressing tool… I really enjoy the irony!!!

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July 28th, 2015
5:32
 

WOW – I’ve just had quite an education on the advancement of the mirror.  I always thought it was just a “dumb” piece of glass that is reflective.  Boy, was I wrong!

Now there are things called augmented mirrors – and there are MANY.

Here’s what I’ve learned with a little internet searching…

MirrorMirror developed by students at Purdue University, gives the user not only their reflection, but other important information such as the latest news, emails and even bus schedules.

The prototype was produced during BoilerMake2014, a 36-hour hackathon at Purdue University. It uses facial recognition technology that causes relevant information to be displayed when the user looks into the mirror.

“The mirror will display general information most of the time, but when it recognizes a user it will display their information such as emails or scores of the latest game,” says team member Nick Molo. “With our open development platform, anyone who has the ability to build an app can do so and share it with other users.”

Even going back to development of the 2011 Cybertecture Mirror there was the intent to present users with a wealth of information while looking at their reflection. Described as a reflective window into a digital life, this internet-connected, intelligent mirror can augment your reflected image with weather and news, check for messages or social network feeds, let you watch a TV program, give you information on your state of health and can even act as a personal exercise coach.

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Please note that these newfangled mirrors do not come cheaply!  I guess you’d have to weigh the cost against the advantages received to see if it will be on your wish list of additions to your home decor :-)

What do you think?

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Don’t underestimate the power of poo!  In the never-ending quest to reduce, reuse and recycle – some have found a way to even make poo a valuable commodity.

And since there will not be a shortage of poo anytime soon, these clever minds stand to profit substantially from their brilliant ideas.

Last year, the UK’s first bus powered by human poo hit the roads of Bristol and in January this year, the Janicki Omniprocessor, a machine that turns human poo into water was revealed. Janicki Bioenergy, the company behind the machine, is soon to ship a processor to Dakar, Senegal, where it will produce 10,800 litres of water.

Here are some other examples of how waste is being integrated into sustainable, circular design and production with environmental and social benefits.

There are seats made from urine and sand, so it’s almost inevitable that there would be furniture fashioned from poo, or to be more precise, a mixture of horse manure, straw and other agricultural waste. The stools and lampshades, known as Terra, were the creation of Tel Aviv-based designer Adital Ela.

Stools made from stools

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Ela believes the idea could inspire the future of interior design and that anyone could eventually make their own household items from waste collected locally. After use, the objects can be remoulded with water or composted. She even envisages a future where the making process could become a craft and provide communities in developing countries with added income.

Let cow poo provide the power

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A team of Stanford University PhD students are developing a low-cost machine for pasteurising milk that runs on methane from dung. According to Sarah Rizk, co-founder of the technology, Vorpal, a cow’s poo can pasteurise 10 times the amount of milk it produces. By relying on the animal to power the biodigestor, the system can ensure that methane emissions are reduced, less milk is spoiled and farmers’ incomes are boosted.

Writing on rhino poo

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Mumbai-based Elrhino is one of the businesses recovering the waste and converting it into a range of stationery. The dung is a perfect raw material because it’s high in celluose (the main fibre used to make paper), explains ElRhino’s co-founder Nisha Bora. The company manages the dung production chain from the sourcing and preparation to the selling. Bora says that “the art of making paper by hands is dying”, so having control over the supply chain means they can train local women and young people to provide them with economic opportunities and skills. It currently has several dozen employees.

Run your vehicle on panda poo

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The panda can naturally convert waste plant material into the type of sugars that can be fermented into bioethanol. Photograph: Xinhua /Landov /Barcroft Media

WOW – that’s quite an extensive all-reaching use of poo power I would say!  It hits so many industries within retail and energy sectors.

It just takes some creative minds to embrace unconventional resources to “get the ball rolling” or in this case, “get the poo flowing”

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July 14th, 2015
10:06
 

Project Jacquard is the latest wacky yet perhaps world-changing innovation from Google’s ATAP lab. The idea is simple: weave conductive yarns into textiles, that can make your clothes act like touchscreens.

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Project Jacquard makes it possible to weave touch and gesture interactivity into any textile using standard, industrial looms.

Everyday objects such as clothes and furniture can be transformed into interactive surfaces.

This new technology is challenging designers to think about 200 year old traditional garment production in a whole new and exciting way:

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I can’t wait to be able to turn on my home air conditioning when leaving my office without having to pull my cell phone out to do so.  Do you have any skills that can advance this technology?

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