Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
July 28th, 2015

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

blog stools for stools

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”

blog smiley face

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July 14th, 2015

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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July 11th, 2015

It’s beach season here in the USA and that means lots of fun in the sun – swimming, frisbee, volleyball, picnics – and SUNBURN!

Here’s a nifty new idea that’s meant to save your tender skin from the harmful UV rays that we so love to roast ourselves under…all you ‘beach babes and dudes’, take note…  More wearable tech with a healthy purpose! (but, it comes with a healthy pricetag at present, too)

This bikini tells you when you’re getting sunburnt


Here’s a little more detail from:

“…the wearer will get a two-piece swimsuit with a small detachable ultraviolet sensor that, through a smartphone or tablet, sends a “sunscreen alert” when the user’s skin needs more protective sunblock cream.” – - – “…there’s even a “Valentine” function that sends the message to a boyfriend’s smartphone so he knows when to apply the cream to his girlfriend’s skin.”


Click the pic to view other items available from Spinali Design in France – - -

Ultraviolet bikini

This bikini tells you when you’ve spent too long in the sun (Picture: Spinali Design)

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July 10th, 2015

Now here’s something that I don’t often see – and I am somewhat of a fan of all that glitters and IS gold!  Imagine taking something as mundane as coffee grounds and turning it into something that most consider to be a commodity – jewelry!

blog java jewelry which incorporates coffee grounds

One piece of a unique collection of jewelry from the Java Rock collection from high-end jeweller, Rosalie McMillan.

The Java Ore jewellery range celebrates reinvention and creativity, integrating a beautiful unusual material derived from coffee grounds, with gold and sterling silver. The striking and original designs are inspired by the properties and formation of coffee grounds, uncovering their beauty and transforming them into covetable lasting gems that intrigue and delight.

If you are interested in the circular economy (generally it’s more economically-friendly, because it means that you’re using less of new resources) as it relates to high fashion, check out the other coffee ground jewelry designs at their e-commerce website here

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