Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
October 5th, 2015

We’ve had a few blogs over the past year that make reference to Origami – the ancient art of paper-folding brought to us by the Japanese.  The intricacies of these creations, made by human hands, is nothing short of breathtaking.  Modern day technology is seeking to take advantage of the principles of historic art forms to break new ground…  And here’s the most recently reported result!

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor (UM) have used the ancient art of paper cutting, known as kirigami, to create a unique thin-film solar cell that can use a method of following the sun called optical tracking.


Read the article direct from the school’s website

Inspired by art,


lightweight solar cells


track the sun


U Mich Solar kirigami

And take a look at the LiveScience story on the same topic:  Japanese Paper Art Inspires Sun-Tracking Solar Cell

Solar energy use is growing in popularity everywhere.  Will you be on the ‘cutting edge’ like these U Mich students?

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Electronic displays for integration with clothing and textiles are a rapidly developing field in the realm of wearable electronics. Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have created a fiber-like LED that can be directly knitted or woven to form part of the fabric itself.

“Our research will become a core technology in developing light emitting diodes on fibers, which are fundamental elements of fabrics,” said Professor Choi, head of the research team at the School of Electrical Engineering at KAIST. “We hope we can lower the barrier of wearable displays entering the market.”

blog fiber

Researchers have created an LED fiber that can be directly woven into textiles to form an integrated flexible display (Credit: KAIST)

If you’d like to get into the conversation on wearable displays, there is an annual convention next to be held in San Fransico, CA in May 2016.

Find out all of the detail by clicking on the conference picture here:

    blog display week

How much fun will marketeers and the general public have when you can show off your “brand” as you stroll down the street :-)

What will yours display?

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September 29th, 2015

While it may sound like an oxymoron, the WalkCar is a reality.

With mobile phones, an industry was created that changed the communications model and allowed people to talk with one another anytime and anywhere -  free from a ‘land line’.  The WalkCar may do the same for the auto industry.  It may be an item that will revolutionize the way we think about transportation – in addition to helping solve the dilemma of being unable to find a parking spot in a crowded urban location!!

As described by Charles Osgood on CBS Radio:  It is a lightweight aluminum board that – despite looking like a cookie sheet on wheels – has a top speed of over six miles an hour and a range of nearly seven-and-a-half miles when fully charged. …  The device is also pretty simple to maneuver, with the rider just shifting his weight to change direction.

Kuniaki Sato is the CEO of Cocoa Motors, which makes the WalkCar. He told Reuters it was designed to fit in a small bag…

Check out the video on YouTube here:



For those of us who haven’t mastered a skateboard, this may be a tad unnerving – I like to have something to hold on to when I’m free-rolling along a sidewalk.  But, it certainly looks like fun!  And it’s a non-polluting source of mobility.  What’s your opinion?

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September 23rd, 2015

If you’re a Shakespeare fan, you’ll be familiar with the words in the title of this blog.  If you’re not a devotee of The Bard, you can catch up here and check out the literary reference:  Shakespeare Quotes

But this blog is not about that kind of sleep – it’s about how lighting may be the key to getting a truly good night’s rest.  Read all about the



According to Mariana Figueiro, who leads light and health research at the Lighting Research Center of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, “It’s about delivering individualized light treatments to people.”

The Sleepy Baby Bulb is an invention that comes to us from The Lighting Science Group  Perhaps this lighting is what you need to help you get through your studies – or maybe it will spark a “bright” idea for a lighting innovation of your own!!

Sleepy Baby Bulb

Fredric Maxik, the inventor of the Sleepy Baby bulb.
Credit: Oscar Hidalgo for The New York Times




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September 10th, 2015

For many of us, it’s a real feat to remember to add something just used up to our shopping list.  Well, lucky for us, the trashcan just got smart!

The GeniCan attaches to a trashcan so it can be used to scan barcodes of items as they are thrown out. They can then be added to a list or automatically reordered.

Check out this cute video which puts a fun spin on GeniCan‘s functionality:

YouTube Preview Image

Once installed, the GeniCan is connected to a home Wi-Fi network, via which it cross-references scanned barcodes against a UPC database and sends all data to its cloud service.  The cloud service, in turn, sends info to the accompanying smartphone app.

When an item is scanned, it can be added to a user’s shopping list, coupons for it sourced if available or, potentially, automatically reordered.  If an item does not have a barcode, it can be held in front of the GeniCan sensor until a voice prompt asks what needs to be added to the user’s shopping list.  A microphone coupled with voice-to-text technology allows users to tell the device what is required and have it show up in the app’s shopping list.

What a great time saver for those shoppers you see in the grocery aisle with a puzzled look on their faces trying to recall what else they were supposed to buy (myself included!).

This product would make making trash a more productive (and for some fun) activity!

blog trash


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