Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
Penn State

Computation brings us unprecedented power to solve tough problems. But when those problems are worlds away, and don’t have an obvious computational solution, we need to leverage that power in a less direct way. Luckily, any problem of reasonable scale has a wealth of data associated with it, and there’s nothing computers are better at than using data in incredible ways.

The Measles virus is one of the largest and most pervasive healthcare problems worldwide, and it’s one Dr. Matt Ferrari spends a good deal of his time with. Each year, Dr. Ferrari composes a large data set for statistics associated with the Measles virus worldwide, and presents it to the World Health Organization to inform vaccination policy. However, this data takes the form of large and difficult to interpret spreadsheets, and any visualization of this data has to be done piecemeal.

That’s why in the inaugural semester of Stateware, a student-led software development group at Penn State, we’re building a web platform for Dr. Ferrari that will allow users to visualize this data transparently, on demand. The platform, called Dav3i (Disease and Virus Vaccination Visualization Interface, pronounced like Davey), is aimed at improving the efficacy of worldwide Measles vaccination policy, and using the power of computation to benefit world health. When the first release of the program is complete, the WHO will have an unprecedented power to visualize, analyze, and understand the state of the Measles virus from a global perspective.

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We’ll be supporting multiple projects over time – here’s this semester’s work:

WHO Measles Data Visualization Project

This project utilizes a web-based platform to allow a user to transparently and quickly view and compare trends associated with the Measles virus for all 193 sovereign states. It will be used by the World Health Organization to make more effective decisions regarding vaccine deployment.

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The goal of this project is to design a device that attaches to an everyday bicycle. The Bike Generator harvests energy from the movement of powerful magnets on the bike’s back wheel, or from a motor mechanically connected to one of the bike’s wheels. Through the use of electromagnetism, a battery then stores that power in a battery with the intention of charging electronics at a later time. By using a device to make the bicycle stationary, the Bike Generator could also be used as an exercise bike in a gym, and could potentially generate power that could go back into the electrical grid.

Let’s see what happens between now & the project’s end in May.

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May 31st, 2014
12:14
 

The Apparatus X Indiegogo campaign is a success! We’ve successfully raised nearly $18,000 from our campaign, bringing our total funds to over $25,000! We’ve also made significant progress building the vehicle. For one thing, the new frame has been welded and reinforced, so we can soon attach it to the base of the trailer. We’ve also received the new honeycomb panels, which are perfect for replacing the old trailer’s siding. Graciously donated by Aryes, the new panels are strong, lightweight, and pretty cool-looking, giving Apparatus X both functionality and aesthetic appeal!

Here are a few of the newest pictures of Apparatus X!

DSC_0339 DSC_0380 DSC_0392 DSC_0394

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April 2nd, 2014
19:07
 

Hey IBM!

Apparatus X has officially launched its Indiegogo campaign today! We are hoping to reach our funding goal of $20,000 with this campaign, and we’d really appreciate it if you check it out! Here’s the link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/apparatus-x-empowering-disaster-victims/x/6807372

We are attempting to raise $15,000 in 30 days, and we have a bunch of cool awards for our contributors! For $25 we’re sending a signed picture of the completed project, for $100 we’re displaying the name or business of our contributor, and for $1000 we’re giving away a 1:12 scale model of Apparatus X. Please check out our campaign, and share it with your friends and family!

Thanks!

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