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Class Projects


Paul Szauter, Project List, 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.
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.

Spun Off to Transportation Safety Working Group
10. Airport Security. Measures to ensure airport security are intrusive and inconvenient to passengers, and not completely effective in enforcing secuity. The aim of this project is to improve the methods used to provide airport security to reduce the inconvenience to travelers without compromising security.
13. Why Doesn't Your Cell Phone Talk to Your Car? Smartphones are widespread. Cars are increasingly equipped with complex electronics. The aim of this project is to explore areas in which a secure interaction between smartphones and automobiles would be useful.
Spun Off to Planet Innovation Working Group
2. Emergency Shelters. Two years after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, many people are still living in tents. The Red Cross has built many shed-like shelters for eathquake victims, but the pace of the deployment of shelters has been slow. The aim of this project is to design low-cost shelters that can be built quickly using, if possible, local materials and labor.