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Class Projects


Planet Innovation Working Group, Project List, 2/2/2012

 Several students have proposed projects related to global issues such as water, agriculture, sustainability, and so on. All of these projects are collected here.

 Paul Szauter 2/2/2012
1. Landmine Clearance. There are millions of landmines buried in former conflict zones. The aim of this project is to facilitate civilian landmine clearance through international agreements and technological innovation. Successful solutions will reduce the cost of landmine clearance and reduce the danger to personnel involved in landmine clearance.
2. Open-Source Agriculture. The techniques of crop improvement, including genome analysis and genetic modification, have yet to be fully applied to improving indigenous crops in the developing world. The aim of this project is to identify food crops that would be good targets for improvement in a model where the work is sponsored by a public agency or foundation rather than by a corporation. The project might include open-source collaboration and challenge awards, approaches borrowed from collaborative software development and other crowdsourcing models.

Please see also World Hunger, posted 2/5/2012.

3. Colony Collapse Disorder. Domesticated honeybees are essential to pollinate many agricultural crops. Colony Collapse Disorder is a complex disorder that causes the loss of entire hives. The aim of this project is to develop improved strategies to monitor, understand, and prevent Colony Collapse Disorder.
4. Free Speech For All. The Arab Spring of 2011 was fueled by the ease of mass communication in countries under tyranny. During the various uprisings, governments attempted to block communication within their countries and between their populations and the outside world. The aim of this project is to develop strategies to make it virtually impossible for individual governments to block the transmission of messages, voice, images, and video among all the people in the world.

 Lauren Erica Davis 1/29/2012
1. Starvation. There is enough food grown in the world so that if it were properly distributed no one need starve, but because so much of it is tied up in fuel such as ethanol and the production of livestock starvation is a reality for millions of people. The aim of this project is to end starvation by redistributing food and ensuring that all farmland is used to raise crops for food rather than energy etc.
2. Composting. A lot of our resources are wasted because we throw them away things that could be reused. Recycling is becoming more mainstream in many countries and cities, but composting is still very limited in the united states. Compost could replace fertilizers an many gardens if cities made it available. The aim of this project is to design a composting program that could be easily utilized by cities to reduce waste.
3. Lobby for normal people. Major corporations have lobbies which represent them to the government and they have a lot of influence. The aim of this project would be to start a lobby for the average American where people pay in to a fund and then vote on important issues which will then be taken to Washington and presented before the government.
5. Water, water. As the earth warms and glaciers melt sources of fresh water will be depleted. The aim of this project is to design a filter for sea water which will exchange ions in salt water for vitamins and minerals.

 Anna Bancroft 1/30/2012
4. Extreme Take-out. What if the people in Ethiopia could order food on the internet?

 Jason Kimble 1/30/2012
1. Human-Elephant conflict (HEC) reduction. Due to human encroachment into traditional elephant habitat, encounters with elephants are on the rise. The result of which is often death of a villager, destroyed croplands and, subsequently, the death of the elephant(s). The aim of this project is to use provide villagers and farmers with Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) technology in an attempt to deter the elephants.
2. Prosthetics for victims of violence. A reality of war is that prosthetic advances often accompany US conflicts. There are many victims of violence across the globe that could benefit greatly from the use of our prosthetic technology but lack the institutions and financial means. The aim of this project is to take current technology and use innovation to create prosthetics that can be produced inexpensively but function similar to more advanced prosthetics. This technology would be shared and distributed to victims of violence across the globe.
3. Trash scale. Every day in Albuquerque a lot of recyclables are thrown away with the rest of people's garbage. The arm on local garbage trucks could be fashioned with a scale that weighs the garbage as it put into the truck and a computer chip could identify the said customer. The aim of this project is to charge customers that produce more waste a premium for disposing of their garbage and reward customers who throw out less garbage, in an effort to promote recycling.
4. Energy use. Have an app that could be downloaded from either a computer or smartphone that monitors electricity and gas use in real time. The aim is to present individuals with a means to monitor their energy use in an effort to reduce energy consumption.
5. Energy from cars. In real time, energy could be collected from moving vehicles and put into the grid. The aim of this project is to put to use energy from moving vehicles that would otherwise be wasted.
12. Sink motion sensors. Require all households to incorporate motion sensors into household sinks. The aim of this project is to reduce water consumption, especially in arid regions of the US.

 Olivia Pena 1/30/2012
4. Water Provision. Water wells are expensive to build. There is a lot of available fresh water in tropical regions. This project will help to provide cheap water availability to those living in tropical areas without the need for a well.

 Terril Yazzie 1/30/2012
4. Save the ocean. It is believed that water perpetuates life. The Ocean is a vast ecosystem that must be protected. The aim of this project is to protect the ocean by developing ways of improving the primary productivity of the organisms by identifying the real picture of what bacteria are really there.
5. Keystone Species Keystone species play an important role in ecosystems. The aim of this project is to develop models that help in identifying which animals are considered keystone in their habitat to help identify which ecosystem could potentially be threatened if they are absent.
6. Biofuels. Tumbleweeds grow profusely around the desert. They are easily maintained and require very little water to produce robust biomass. The aim of this study would look at each species of weeds and determine which type would be suitable for biofuel generation.
7. Deep ocean exploration. Many oceanographers and marine biologist are greatly intrigued by the information that they could find in the vast crevices in the ocean floor. Unfortunately, the water pressure is an extreme factor decreasing exploration. The aim of this project would look at current prototypes of ocean surveillance equipment and create improvements in their function and data collection potential.
8. Bacteria Identification Many culturing techniques are bias by not identifying the true bacterial population that they do not allow certain organisms to grow. The aim of this project is to develop new ways to culture and grow microbes that allow for true identification rather than through genetic tests that are costly and time consuming.
10. Food shortages. The foods that we eat are becoming scarce due to changes in the earth's composition. The aim for this project would be to investigate indigenous foods, such as eating insects (whose population is numerous), to explore new ways to nurture a starving world.

 Bernadette Correa 1/30/2012
1. Waste Not Want Not. Utilize unused surface areas of buildings for solar energy harvesting.
2. Build a Better Mousetrap. ...in this case a solar panel. Create a more efficient solar panel by re-thinking the overall design, incorporate layers.
4. Zombie Survival 101. Governments, Airports, and Hospitals all have an emergency plan or guide should they find themselves under siege by the undead so why not a home version for the rest of us!

 Justin Allen Burr 2/5/2012
1. Safe Drinking Water. A way to make drinking water safe to drink in areas that have unsafe water conditions. The way I want to go about this is not to go to these places and fix the problem with a team of experts but instead to have a set of guidelines that people in these areas could follow so that they would be able to purify the water themselves.