Precision Agriculture – Making the Modern Farmer


There are greater demand for food and agricultural products. Resources, such as water, energy and land, limit the vitality of a crop production and must be used and managed efficiently by the farmer.

Technology Summary
Article: Foreign Affairs: The Precision Agriculture Revolution

  • Using sensors, farmers can collect data about their fields and use that knowledge to customize how they cultivate each square foot – allowing more efficient management and use of resources.
  • While these sensors are not ready to be distributed or accurate enough, there are several U.S. and European companies that use sensors to detect greeness, generating measurements that can be used to generate a map recommending various amounts of nitrogen.
  • The placement of these sensors are being evaluated right now. Options include mounting sensors to the a tractor or to an aerial drone.
  • There is potential to integrate these sensors with automated water and pesticide distribution systems.


  • Large and small scale farmers, US Department of Agriculture, produce distribution companies/centers, agricultural field workers, large companies who purchase produce

Steps of Deployment

  • Involve agricultural production stakeholders to determine the prominent management issues for crop cultivation and growth
  • Determine a test-bed region to engage with local farmers and determine the best application for these sensors – what kinds of data to collect, how to collect data, and how to translate that data into the farmer’s decision-making process and management
  • Identify opportunities for funding

Digital platform to streamline the U.S. Immigration process

Sustainable Problem – Civic Engagement; The current U.S. immigration process is strenuous and operates through a paper system, rather than digital. This process requires paper applications to be shuffled between multiple government agencies, which increase the chances of lost applications, slow down the process, and create a repetitive process for the applicant.

Article – How Better Tech Can Make the Immigration Process Less Sucky (WIRED) (Click here)

  • Along with the Department of Homeland Security and Department of State, the White House enlisted the help of the new U.S. Digital Service team to better streamline the immigration process with technology.
  • The recommendations, ranging from efficient multiple-fee processing system to data collection, are already being tested by government agencies. One of the recommendations takes the application process digital through, which will enable better and quicker collaboration between agencies.
  • This modern immigrant visa program is piloted this year at consulates in Montreal, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, and Sydney

Organizational Stakeholders: Federal agencies involved in the immigration process, first generation immigrants who have family overseas, overseas citizens and students who want to immigrate to the U.S., and citizens who need to renew their visas.

Steps of Deployment

  1. Monitor the progress to determine any inefficiencies, complaints, flaws, drawbacks, and opportunities for improvement
  2. Engage the users of this website to determine how it can be improved
  3. Upgrade the website and begin to determine how this platform can be used for other types of VISAs

It’s like Uber, but for Trash

Sustainable Problem – Waste. There are many garbage companies that strike contracts with local governments and set their own pickup schedules. This system prevents smaller hauling companies to compete with multibillion dollar enterprises, allows customers to be vulnerable to high costs, and leads to inefficient pick up of trash (trucks not filled to its maximum capacity when returning to the landfill/center).

Article – Wired: Silicon Valley Wants to Disrupt Your Trash (Click here)

  • Rubicon Global is working on an app for residents to schedule a garbage pickup; similar to their current app for large companies. This tech platform connects small, local haulers with major companies that want to cut down on their garbage costs and increase their recycling efforts.
  • Rubicon takes stock of a company’s trash flow and sells valuable materials off to recycling and up cycling partners across the Nation. Pricing for residents/companies vary based on the trash volume picked up and availability of drivers.
  • Their system reduces the cost of garbage collection and is a new way to recycle materials that would otherwise get dumped in a landfill

Organizational Stakeholders: Sanitation department, trash hauling companies (both local and multibillion dollar enterprises), residents, home owners, facility managers, building managers, and building tenants.

Steps of Deployment

  1. Determine neighborhoods ideal for a pilot program for the residential app. Take into consideration the resident/business density of the area, average trash disposed, current trash pickup system and community concerns
  2. Engage with small local trash pickups and trash and recycling centers. Determine their concerns that can be addressed through this app.
  3. Determine a strategic outreach plan to engage the community to use this app.

Biodegradable batteries

Sustainable Problem – Energy & Waste – Nearly 22,000 tonnes of household batteries end up in landfill sites every year.

Article– The Guardian; Biodegradable batteries and induction charging cars: five tech trends to watch
Link – Click here

  • Researchers in Sweden and US developed a battery made of wood-based foam substance called aerogel, which allows this battery to be lightweight, elastic, high-capacity and ability to dissolve in water.
  • The targeted market include wearable computing and in-car electronics, which would have a high disposal rate.
  • Due to its high costs, this technology is at least 5-10 years away from the commercial market.

Organizational Stakeholders – Portable energy storage (battery) manufacturers (such as Energizer), disposable good manufacturers and developers, outdoor enthusiasts/tourists, and ecotourism companies.

Steps of deployment 

  1. Determine stakeholders who are likely to invest in the research and application of this technology, such as Energizer.
  2. Among this list, determine best candidates for a public-private partnership that will fund and accelerate the technology
  3. Establish an agreement between the investor and researchers that addresses the responsibilities, deployment plan, and application.

DJI Just Released the First Consumer Drone that Can See and Avoid Obstacles

1. Sustainability Problem: Local enforcement require an efficient way to ensure local laws are followed in a large geographical area.

2. Tech Summary:

  • Article: Yahoo Technology (8 June 2015)  DJI Just Released the First Consumer Drone that can See and Avoid Obstacles
  • Combining a guidance system, ultrasonic sensors, and stereo cameras, DJI’s consumer aerial drone is able to navigate a path while avoiding physical obstacles.
  • One unique application, created at Fudan University in Shanghai, is to integrate Intel processors to detect illegally parked cars from the air.
  • This technology has great and different applications in an urban setting – ranging from seamless navigation of delivery services to safe documentation of news footage.

3. Organizational Stakeholders: Public enforcement, commercial business owners and managers, security companies, technology design companies

4. Steps for deployment:

  1. Determine areas with most parking tickets
  2. Engage with public agencies and local community leaders to understand how perceive the issue, currently address the issue, and would like this issue to be addressed using this technology.
  3. Determine economic feasibility and potential PPP to successfully deploy this technology