Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
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 19th, 2014

As a college student, I did my laundry more than most of my friends (and didn’t take it home to Mom at the end of the semester, either).   “Clean” water seems to be decreasing in supply – although there’s an abundance of the salty variety covering the planet.  We’ve come up with a bunch of de-salination methods that have been in the news.  This ‘fresh’ water is being used in many applications – farming, animal husbandry, drinking water for humans…

But what if we just decreased CONSUMPTION of the water that IS available? Or in any case, used the supply more efficiently?  Here’s a look at technology that aims to minimize the amount of water being used for the laundering of fabrics.  Although it’s not strictly new tech, having been around for several years, it is being used with greater frequency in industrial applications and may be available for household consumers in the near future.

Scientists develop waterless washing machines


Almost waterless washing could come to American homes


Read about one company that is on the manufacturing end of things:   Polymer beads  Maybe you’ll be inspired to go them one better?  (Or at least do some of that laundry that you’ve been piling up?)


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There is almost frenzied focus to find alternative fuels for use around the world.  In the U.S., there are a number of different replacements for fossil fuel that have been, and continue to be, explored.  How will this affect the world economy?  Maybe you have a great idea for merging production with prosperity?  Here’s some news on the Ethanol front that may spark some creative thoughts for your own ‘liquid energy’.

Since 1981, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) has been the authoritative voice of the U.S. ethanol industry. Our members are committed to helping our country become cleaner, safer, and more energy independent.

Click the pic to visit their website.

Click the pic to visit their website.

RFA Unveils New Mobile App


Ethanol Fun Fact:   Each bushel of corn used in ethanol production yields 17.5 lbs of nutrient-rich livestock feed, returning 1/3 of the bushel to the market.



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November 6th, 2014

A 5,500-year-old leather shoe was discovered in a cave in Armenia in 2010. It makes you think long and hard about just how many shoes you really need to keep up with fashion and the burden they leave behind when the next must-have shoe design comes into fashion!

Downcycling is a new term I just read about. It’s different than recycling in that the process takes a used product, deconstructs all of its different parts, and then utilizes the individual deconstructed parts in a new way. This process claims to reduce the necessity of using fresh raw materials, which, in turn, reduces energy usage to manufacture those fresh raw materials, thereby reducing air pollution and water pollution.

The footwear industry is jumping on this new process. One company in particular, the LYF (Love your Footprint) shoe can be taken apart and remade without losing quality. You can’t help but love that name, right?

Inspired by Japanese Shinto temples that can be taken apart and moved, the LYF shoe is made of pieces that slot together a bit like Lego, without the need for glue. Not only are the these shoes made responsibly, they are custom made for each customer and made to fit your feet – you choose from a variety of sustainable & artisan textiles!

“To be truly sustainable you have to design for disassembly. If you put glue into the mix you cause problems in the reuse,” the designer, Aly Khalifa, says.


blog shoe

Check out some additional styles here.

For all of you engineers out there, does this inspire you to find a product that can be disassembled and remade into something else useful for its second life?

Other news in the footwear industry:

Nike developed an open source app to help designers assess their environmental impact and has been running a reuse–a-shoe scheme since the 1990s, grinding old trainers into pellets that are used to surface running tracks.

Gucci sold a collection of shoes made from bio-plastic – a biodegradable material used as an alternative to petrochemical plastic.

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November 1st, 2014

Music is an integral part of many lives, in many formats, in many locations.  Music during a workout to increase your fitness level can be motivating and keep you from swooning with exhaustion.

Now there’s tech for your EARS that monitors your vitals which you catch your tunes!  A new twist on the mobile/wearable items that are out there.  Maybe you’ll be inspired to create some wearable tech, too?


Are ‘Hearables’ the


Next Big Thing in Fitness?


Hearables might be the next big thing, according to Scott Snyder, a senior fellow with the University of Pennsylvania’s Mack Institute for Innovation Management and president and co-founder of the mobile strategy company Mobiquity. “Research suggests that 55 percent of Americans plan to use a wearable device in the coming year,” Snyder says. “Most of the attention to-date has been on the wrist, with a barrage of new devices from wrist-worn trackers to sensorized smartwatches, but hearables are makings strides and leveraging a mainstream consumer accessory – the earbud.”

DASH earphones

DASH Earphones by Bragi, LLC (Munich, Germany). Click the pic to learn more about the product!

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