Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
Student Projects

Sherlock Holmes, the fictional detective, was regularly whipping his trusty magnifying glass out of his greatcoat to examine clues at crime scenes.  In both the printed short stories and novels, as well as on film, his deeper scrutiny of evidence – via the enlargement by lens – was most often followed by an “a-ha!” moment that typically leads to the villian(s)’ undoing.  Now, imagine that every man, woman and child all over the planet could engage in their own “a-ha” moment…not necessarily as a crime-solver, but for the simple pleasure of seeking out answers.

That’s the dream of one Manu Prakash, a professor at Stanford University in California.  He wants everyone to have the tools available to “think like a scientist”!  High-tech usually equates to high dollars to obtain the equipment necessary for scientific study.  School budgets are notoriously strapped in both developed and developing countries.  Professor Prakash and his research mates at PrakashLab have given the every-man a solution – their unit is a print-and-fold optical microscope that can be assembled from a flat sheet of paper:


Foldscope: Microscopy for



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Released in 2014, and much publicized then (check out: Foldscope Is A Paper Microscope That Can Fit In Your Pocket on Inquisitr) and since (take a look at this video posted on the Stanford Medicine Scope blog this June: Microscopes for the masses), the intervening time has been spent making this patented invention available in all corners of the globe.

And take a look at the many uses that have been devised by the folks who were part of their highly successful beta program:

Foldscope Explore: Exploring the Microcosmos


The endless possibilities for exploration and learning and disease control and…  well, what will YOU do with the microscope in YOUR pocket?  Or will you create the next affordable equipment that we can all have access to?  The journey has begun – where will you take it?

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October 8th, 2015

On October 5th (Monday), we had a meeting with Sustain U, a committee responsible for sustainable initiatives at our student union. As we would like to implement the paraSOL project on one of the terraces in the student union, we are working with Sustain U to move forward with our ideas.

We presented our solar charging table project to the Sustain U committee, Sustain U’s assistants, Sylvia and Kathy, and CSULB’s Recycling Coordinator, Lee Johnson. They were very excited to see a collective group of students working together to improving sustainability on campus and opening people’s minds to the impact of energy emissions. After our presentation, we opened the floor for questions and suggestions. We got a range of questions from safety concerns, electrical grounding, the location, and the budget. Some critical factors we have to consider is the pathway access to the 3rd floor of our student union; whether the table can fit into a building’s freight elevator, whether the table can be taken apart for storage, and who will professionally install the table to meet code regulations.

There are still a ways before we can actually start on constructing this project, but we have received a lot of support and help. We are also working with the International Society of Automation (ISA) chapter at CSULB in designing the tables. We are excited to see what cool things we can do with this project!

CSULB Tables

Regular tables at the Southwest Terrace of the University Student Union.

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Hello, we are Engineers for a Sustainable World at California State University, Long Beach (ESW CSULB). We are excited and honored to have been awarded a grant for our project, the paraSOL Charging Table.

ParaSOL Logo v4
ParaSOL is a solar charging table that will provide our university’s community a place to charge their electronics while relaxing or studying outside. ParaSOL will produce energy through a series of square solar panels fitted on an umbrella or canopy with external weatherproofed outlets and USB ports built into the tabletop. The table will store energy in a battery built into the base to provide energy during cloudy or nighttime conditions. Our hope for the paraSOL is to promote energy sustainability and open dialogue on sustainable alternatives use of self-sustaining energy sources.

Solar Table Design 2 Render.png

This is our current design for the paraSOL project. It is still being developed, so the final product’s design may look different.


We are also working on other projects at our campus, such as a solar kiosk and an aquaponics research. The solar kiosk is a cart with a solar panel canopy to collect energy. The solar kiosk’s purpose is to utilize various kitchen appliances, such as a blender, to provide refreshments and snacks for sale. Aquaponics is a system of a garden and an aquarium. The fish in the tank will produce waste, which will fertilize the plants that then filter the water of the tank.

We’re looking forward to working on this project for our school as well as making progress on our other projects. We will update our progress on here. For more information, you can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and on our website.

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The team at Penn State Altoona has started designing the interactive workbook that will teach young students about cyber security. At the first team meeting members decided that to create the workbook in the time allotted we would need to narrow our scope.
Initially we believed we would be able to cover a variety of topics in many different ways. After further discussion and an established timeline we determined that we would create a ten module workbook. Next, we established after two meeting the content topics of each module. The tentative module outline is as follows:
Module one: Introduction (The Internet and You)

Module two: Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability (CIA)

Module three: Components of an Information System (software, hardware, data, people, procedures, networks) Critical Characteristics of Information (availability, accuracy, authenticity, confidentiality, integrity, utility, etc.)

Module four: Cryptography (cryptology (science), cryptography, crypt-analysis, decryption // Cipher methods Encryption)

Module five: Risk management, Risk control, Risk identification (concept of know yourself, know your enemy)

Module six: Review (Test)

Module seven: Risk control strategies (1. defend 2. transfer 3.mitigate 4. accept 5.terminate)

Module eight: Threats (software piracy, malicious code, virus, macro virus, boot virus, worm, Trojan horse, polymorphic threat, industrial espionage, script kiddies, RAT, hoax, etc.)

Module nine: Firewalls (packet filtering, stateful packet filtering, proxy, application level, DMZ, proxy server, proxy firewall)

Module ten: Final review

After determining the content topic of each module  the team began deciding how the information would be introduced to users. Currently, each module will contain a short video presenting the lesson with a pull down tab depicting the dialog and images from the video. Following the video and the text there will be a game testing the user on the lesson they have just reviewed. Lastly, each module will conclude with a short assessment, including either multiple choice or matching questions.

In regards to creating the video for each lesson members of the team have been researching several examples that young students can relate to. At this point in our research, we are still determining a particular theme for all of the videos. The Penn State Altoona team is still deciding how students will receive digital badges throughout the workbook as well. In addition, we have been working on the database design for this mobile application. We are in the process of completing a detailed data model. This model will help us understand the logical and physical design choices.This model will help facilitate the creation of our application. We will continue to narrow our tasks as we determine what is a necessity in the completion of this work book.

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September 28th, 2015

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