Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
Smarter Planet
April 17th, 2015

With the almost continual reliance on staying connected nowadays, a dead cell phone battery can be a catastrophic event in one’s daily life.  Remembering to charge that device to keep it functioning has been added to the list of daily items on almost everyone’s “to-do” list.  Now there’s a possible solution to that dilemma…

Tejas Shastry’s busy creating AMPY, a device he and fellow Northwestern Ph.D. students Alex Smith and Mike Geier invented in class. They say it’s a cure for the dead cell phone, turning energy from a person’s physical movement, called kinetic energy, into battery power.

Smith said. “The secret for AMPY really came from taking somewhat existing technology and shrinking it into a form factor that can fit right here in your pocket.”


Read about this invention, profiled by CBS News, here:

Run, walk, bike your way


to a full charge


Not only is this concept a great way to relieve your brain of having to remember to add charging your cell phone into your everyday routine, it’s got the added benefit of stimulating your physical activity to new heights.  The payoff isn’t just being fit and toned, but having a working phone to brag about your exercise accomplishments, as well!  And you’re being ‘green’ by not consuming electricity to recharge your phone!

If you’re interested in this gadget, the unit – along with various accessories – can be pre-ordered on their site:  AMPY cell phone charger logo    Estimated ship date: July 2015, base pricing cost ~$100 USD



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April 15th, 2015

Continuous strides are being made in the field of healthcare.  Research has taken on challenges that were thought to be insurmountable.  New technology is enhancing the methods by which ‘care and cure’ may be offered.

Read this compelling story on a life-changing gadget developed by Tom Bieling.

The glove that transmits


‘touch’ over the internet


“Bieling, a researcher at the Design Lab in Berlin, has developed a glove kitted out with fabric pressure-sensors. By translating a tactile hand touch alphabet into digital text, the mobile glove could eliminate the necessity of hand-to-hand physical contact for deaf-blind communication. Even better, because a great deal of online communication is text-based, the glove could act as a translating device that allows people who are deaf-blind to communicate freely with anyone – and for anyone to communicate with them.”

Tactile glove

In the current version, users can adjust the intensity and speed of the incoming tactile messages according to their reading skills (Design Research Lab)


Is there a job waiting for you in Berlin? Check and see:

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April 14th, 2015

This new product kinda seems too far out to be true, but I guess technology is taking leaps and bounds….  I thought the wrist-worn smartwatch was amazing…  now there is iSkin.  This experimental system allows users to control mobile devices using flexible, stretchable stickers that adhere to your skin.

blog iSkin

An iSkin sticker is used to control the playback of music (Photo: Saarland University)

Developed by a team from Saarland University in Germany and Carnegie Mellon University in the US, the silicone iSkin stickers contain capacitive and resistive sensors that respond to being touched. They can be made in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and temporarily applied almost anywhere on the body via a medical-grade adhesive.

This sticker can be removed, rolled up and put away for another time when needed.

It amazes me what students are capable of developing!  Or as the old proverb states…  “Necessity is the mother of invention”

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April 13th, 2015

Air quality has been a hot button issue for some time.  There are myriad stories in the media, online and just overheard as conversations about the areas of the planet suffering most from the decay in the quality of the air around us.  It’s important to know that there are groups concerned about this issue in multiple countries.

Here’s a press release from the EDF (Environmental Defense Fund) an organization in the United States that’s taking a stand:

Gas MaskMore Than Half a Million Americans

Call for Better Health Protections from Smog


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is proposing to update our national standards for ground-level ozone, the scientific name for smog.

Do you have a technology in development to help achieve cleaner, more breathable air for everyone?

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In an effort to promote sustainable development the Kingdom of Jordan has announced that all of their mosques will soon run on solar energy.  Jordan currently imports 96% of the energy they use.  Since around 300 of Jordan’s days are sunny, solar power is one great solution to their energy constraints.  The photovoltaic solar systems for power generation project will start by covering 120 mosques and installation will continue at other mosques across the country.

blog JordanThe country’s mosques are expected to see huge savings and even solar revenues from the project.  Check out more detail about this expansive solar project here.



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