Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
Security and resilience
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 18th, 2015

A new hotel that is staffed with robots opened in Japan on July 17, 2015. The Henn-na Hotel (which translates as “Strange Hotel”), is part of the Huis Ten Bosch theme park complex in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture.  This is a very no frills kind of place to stay.  It is expected that guests will rarely interact directly with human hotel staff.

The Henn-na Hotel was designed by Kawazoe Lab, the Institute of Industrial Science at the University of Tokyo, and Kajima Corporation.  As well as aiming to provide a pleasant and comfortable stay for guests, the hotel was designed to be cost-effective, modern, environmentally-friendly and fun.

Take a tour and see what you think:

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The cost of a room seems very reasonable.  I think I would miss some of the human interaction, but it might be fun to try it out if you’re going to the theme park.  Certainly the future planned developments look intriguing.

Would you stay here?



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July 30th, 2015

Have you noticed?  Everywhere you turn, it seems that emoji’s are flooding our written communications.  Originally meaning pictograph, the word emoji literally means “picture” (e) + “character” (moji).  As funny as they sometimes are, Intelligent Environments is capitalizing on the security aspect of these funny ideograms.

“The Emoji Passcode plays to humans’ extraordinary ability to remember pictures, which is anchored in our evolutionary history,” Intelligent Environments quotes memory expert Tony Buzan as saying. “We remember more information when it’s in pictorial form, that’s why the Emoji Passcode is better than traditional PINs.”

Passcodes made up of emoji are reportedly more secure, as offering a choice of 44 emoji means there is a total of 3.5 million possible permutations. That’s a lot more impressive than the 7,000-odd non-repeating PIN permutations. Using pictures should also prevent criminals from identifying significant numbers associated with an individual’s life, such as birthdays or anniversaries.

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What do you think?  Would you like to pick a string of 4 emoji’s to secure your vast bank account?  :-)

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Philips has announced that it plans to make 110,000 LED street lights in Los Angeles connected. The company will bring the lights online using new plug-and-play CityTouch technology. It is said to be quick and easy to install, and will allow the city’s lights to be monitored and controlled via the web.  Los Angeles will reduce its street lighting energy consumption by up to 70 percent, by switching to LEDs.

blog LA lights

The plug-and-play nature of the technology reduces the time and cost of programming and commissioning each fixture. Philips says the device can also reduce maintenance costs by around 20 percent, by automatically reporting faults.  And with reduced energy consumption comes reduced costs.

It would be pretty cool to be able to modify the lighting around my town!  Some streets aren’t well lit which makes it hard to detect the wildlife that may be lurking in your path.

Not only is this technology saving our planet by reducing our energy consumption, but it’s making it safer for it’s inhabitants!

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The squid is an intriguing marine animal. Squid are strong swimmers and certain species can “fly” for short distances out of the water.

And now scientists are developing camouflage systems inspired by squids’ color-changing skin. If successful, the result could be military clothing that can change its coloration to match the environment. But, there was a limitation which wouldn’t allow soldiers to avoid detection by infrared cameras at night.  Researchers from the University of California at Irvine are developing a stick-on covering that could let them do so.

blog squid

The new material utilizes the same protein that squids use to change color (Photo: Shutterstock)

Squids are able to rapidly change color thanks to cells in their skin known as iridocytes. These contain platelets that are made of a protein called reflectin. By adjusting the thickness and spacing of these platelets, the animals are able to change the manner in which their skin reflects light.

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While it’s still being perfected, the hope is that one day soldiers will carry rolls of the inexpensive stickers with them while on maneuvers. They could just apply them as needed, then peel them off and discard them afterwards.

More and more research is looking at what happens in nature to find ways to advance technology. Do you have any thoughts inspired by something in our environment that can improve the way we live or save lives?

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