Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience

Thought you had heard about all of the new technology, I bet.  Well, there’s a new monitor on the market called Spire.  It measures your breathing patterns and uses them to draw conclusions about your state of mind. The company says Spire is the first wearable to monitor breathing in an attempt to track mental health.

“It’s very hard to stay mindful throughout our chaotic and always connected day,” Jonathan Palley, Spire’s CEO, told The Huffington Post via email. “The design of the Spire experience is not to interrupt you every time you’re tense, but to bring mindfulness and awareness streaks of tension/focus/calm within this chaos.”

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The unit costs $149.95 USD and interacts with an iPhone app that pops up notifications throughout the day. One example cited is a businesswoman rushing around who enters an elevator. She pulls her phone out and sees there’s a notification from the Spire app: “Your breathing suggests you’re tense. Take a deep breath?” She does, and then the app informs her that she’s become focused.

This just might solve the problem you have when you don’t have any ideas for a birthday or holiday gift for that special someone.  Do you think this new product would or could improve someone’s life?

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January 17th, 2015

Although heating oil prices have dropped to new lows in the U.S., consider this alternative that’s being tried for home heating – what a great way to reduce, reuse, recycle instead of waste, waste, waste…

Paul Benoit calls what he’s created a “digital heater”. Essentially it’s a bank of computers designed so that the heat they generate is channelled around a room or building that needs heating.  He came up with a simple but devilishly clever idea for a new company, Qarnot Computing.

Read more here:

Heating buildings using computers

Paul Benoit - computer heat

Paul Benoit says that the demand for computer centres will only continue to grow

Do you have an idea for a distribution program that takes otherwise ‘unused’ material and makes it a productive resource?  You might just be onto something!


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January 16th, 2015

In some agricultural areas of Mexico, farms rely on surface water sources including streams and canals to irrigate crops. Many of these sources contact microbiological contaminants such as E.Coli bacteria, harmful protozoa, and chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides. These contaminants pose substantial risks to farm workers as well as to the crops they cultivate and sell both locally and internationally.  Conventional water treatment systems use filters or chemicals to purify water but rarely address all potential contaminants with one solution.

To address this problem, Puralytics has developed LilyPad—a solar-activated photochemical water treatment product—designed to break down the harmful molecular bonds of contaminants and chemicals in streams, ponds, ditches, and other waterways near agricultural lands. This same process also kills microbes, including viruses, bacteria, and protozoa that render water unhealthy. The reusable pads last for several months at a time and help ensure farmers have access to clean water for agricultural use and improve prospects for organic farming.

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How inventive – using one energy source (solar) to clean another great energy source (water)!

For more information about this new technology click here

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January 14th, 2015

As further proof that you can now 3D-print anything, a company called Natural Machines has introduced a 3D printer for food called Foodini.

From spaghetti to chocolates to pumpkin gnocchi, the variety of foods that this new technology can produce is pretty amazing.  From savory to sweet temptations, the possibilities are endless!  The ability to plug the printer into a computer means that all sorts of novelty patterns become simple to make.

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3-D gingerbread house cookie to prop on your hot beverage cup

Currently, the device only prints the food, which must be then cooked as usual. But a future model will also cook the preparation and produce it ready to eat.  What a boon for college students!

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Pizza from start to finish

Natural Machines’ co-founder Lynette Kucsma said she is hoping that families and restaurants will both want to get their hands on the device.

The idea also comes with a social element too. “There’s a touchscreen on the front that connects to a recipe site in the cloud, so it’s an internet-of-things, connected kitchen appliance,” said Kucsma. Users will also be able to control the device remotely using a smartphone, and share their recipes with the community.

Taste tests have produced positive results – how do you feel about eating something you’ve printed?


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Packaging is perceived by many as a major cause of waste. While some might argue that that perception is misguided, the high visibility of packaging coupled with the tendency for its functionality to be short-lived means that any green credentials are often overlooked.

One emerging innovation gaining traction is the use of more natural, biological waste-derived nutrients such as straw, crops, fruit peelings and bark.

Take a look at what Dell is doing to reduce our footprint in this world:

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The European Union is also focusing a bright light on this subject with their recent initiative, the European Joint Undertaking on Bio-based Industries (BBI). The aim is to trigger investments and create a competitive market for bio-based products and materials sourced locally and “Made in Europe”, tackling some of Europe’s biggest societal challenges.

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The aim of the BBI is to use Europe’s untapped biomass and wastes as feedstock to make fossil-free and greener everyday products. At the heart of it are advanced biorefineries and innovative technologies that will convert renewable resources into sustainable bio-based chemicals, materials and fuels.
Are you inspired by any of the new technologies that are being developed?
Do you have a really amazing proposal that is stalled due to lack of funding?  You can submit your great idea and apply for secure funding through this webpage.


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