I don’t have any change but I want Change: contactless payment for homeless donations

Problem: Cities around the world have a growing homeless population who survive on donations from passers-by. In many cases, these donations are used for drugs or alcohol rather than for basic necessities like food and clothing, sparking debate between those who donate their change to the homeless, and those who do not. The homelessness problem encompasses civic engagement, health and safety, waste management and a host of other sustainability problems. For those who do donate, it is become less common to carry cash meaning that often they would like to donate change, but do not have any on them.

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Solution: ‘Helping Heart’ contactless payment jacket

  • An Amsterdam-based company, N=5, has come up with the concept to make homeless donations more feasible in a modern city, but also to monitor their use.
  • The jacket has an in-built contactless payment reader and LCD screen, set to a cap of EUR 1 per donation.
  • The wearer can then redeem the value of the donations from participating stores and shelters in the form of food, clothing, shelter and other essentials.
  • There are also options to direct payments towards vocational training courses and savings.

Stakeholders:

  • Helping Heart is designed specially for homeless donations, but the concept of contactless donations could be used as part of numerous charity fundraising initiatives.
  • The technology would be used by the homeless, by participating donors, by shelters and by representatives of charities hoping to raise funds.

Steps to Deployment: 

  1. Identify and organize various organizations willing to participate, namely shelters, banks, supermarkets, restaurants, clothing stores or community centers.
  2. Distribute jackets to homeless people around the city. Include an explanation or training for the wearers on how the technology works, and what they are entitled to.
  3. Invest in marketing for city dwellers to know that this is a donation option and that donations will be used for legitimate purchases of necessities, to incentivize donation.

ArticleIs ‘tap and go’ a better way to give to charity?

Company Case Film: N=5, Helping Heart


Comment on “Extinguish a Fire with Low-Frequency Sound Waves” 

The point on incorporating the technology into “swarm robotics” is a fascinating now, with an army of waterless fire-fighting drones ready to be launched at a larger-scale fire. In London, the recent Grenfell Tower fire was incredibly devastating due to the high-rise nature of the building and although many people were saved on the lower levels, firemen could not reach the higher levels fast enough. Drones would have the ability to fight the fire from above, possibly in unison with firefighters working from below, and devices like the sonic extinguisher are light enough (possibly not yet, but in later models) that this could become a reality.

This lightweight capability also makes these extinguishers possible for vehicles or airplanes, where weight is a consideration, or even in schools etc. where children would struggle to lift a fire extinguisher if required to.

An additional point is the concern over the high-heat, as the sonic extinguishers currently have no cooling system of their own, which would add weight and expense, and is a design capability that needs to be established.

 

 

Internet of Trees – When You Give a Tree an Email Address

Screenshot 2017-09-29 21.24.50

Sustainability Problem: Public Safety and Comfort, Civic Engagement, City Maintenance 

Urban forest has been identified as one of the most cost efficient and effective strategies for mitigating the urban heat island effect and adapting to climate change. However, maintaining good tree canopy cover can be expensive and dangerous tree branches sometimes present public safety concerns.

Sustainable Technology: Assign trees with ID numbers and email addresses

  • Ranked by the EIU as the world’s most liveable city for seven years in a row since 2011, Melbourne suffers from extreme weather conditions like strong heat and flashfloods. Urban forest can help to reduce urban head island effect and improve stormwater retention.
  • To help to improve the city’s canopy cover, every tree in the city is catalogued with an individual ID email address, and can be seen in an open dataset with details such as life expectancy.
  • Citizen can also report problems like dangerous branches by the email-a-tree service. People ended up doing more than just reporting problems, but sending messages such as greetings and love letters to the trees via the emails.
  • “Internet of Trees” not only helps with city maintenance, but also encourages civic engagement.

Organizational Stakeholders that Will Use the Technology

  • City officials who oversee maintaining and improving the city’s tree population
  • City officials who oversee public engagement and safety
  • Citizens

First 3 Steps in Deploying the Technology

  1. Identify large metropolitans that lacks tree cover and can benefit from it, such as New York and Beijing. Work with city officials to get approval and funding for the project.
  2. Conduct pilots in selected parts of the city: tag trees and educate public about the new service.
  3. Roll out the project to rest of the city; build a database and map of the trees, and share them with the public.

Sources:

City of Melbourne –  Urban Forest Visual

Internet of Trees: Melbourne Uses Smart City Tech To Stay World’s Most Liveable Place

When You Give a Tree an Email Address

Comments:

“IoT powered by wireless signals” – This is a great technology that once commercialized, the application could be limitless! Not only it will conserve energy, it also provides convenience – imagine you will never have to change the batteries for smoke alarms and security cameras. According to the article, “The researchers believe that tiny passive Wi-Fi devices could be extremely cheap to make, perhaps less than a dollar”. One version of the passive Wi-Fi technology is already being commercialized through a spin-off company called Jeeva Wireless.

 

Comprehensive Healthcare Staff Culture Survey

By Niall Wallace
Edited by: Michael Diamond
July 5, 2016
Source: http://infectioncontrol.tips/2016/07/05/comprehensive-healthcare-staff-culture-survey/

A. Sustainability Problem

Many initiatives of safety and quality improvement to prevent and control hospital-acquired infections have failed. They have been unmeasurable or have ignored clinical outcomes.

Culture often determines and limits strategic planning efforts in large complex organizations. Organizational culture enacts extreme resistance to efforts at changing policy and practice.  Organizational dynamics and structures prevent improvement at multiple levels of analysis: the industry, the institution, the department. Therefore, quality and safety interventions aimed at changing collective work practices are unlikely to be sustained beyond the intervention period itself.

To get at the root of the infection issue, it is necessary to approach the culture of the hospital, on a unit-by-unit basis, to really understand what hospitals are up against in order to design and implement strategy.

To this end, Infonaut has developed a software – Risk, Behavior and Culture Assessment – that involves participating staff taking online survey.

B. Technology Stakeholders

Hospital and its participating staff: Physicians, Physicians’ Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical, Nurses, Radiology Technologists, Other Technologists, Aides

C. Implementation

First: Focus on psychological processes of the individual, rather than the normative behavior of the group. Review the key psychological principles that govern the cognition and behavior of individuals.   

Second: Target specific behaviors among staff by levering the survey results which provide a foundation for quality and safety interventions.  A focus on the individual, rather than the group, can change patient safety behavior on the hospital’s front lines.

Third: Using the survey model, draw a broad set of theories and principles concerned with changing the behavior of the individual, rather than trying to redirect the herd.  In contrast to efforts toward change directed at groups of people, individual behaviors can be highly receptive to change.

Fourth: Use the survey and assessment to highlight the challenges the individual faces to improve quality and safety and then, highlight those interventions that will be the most successful, based on the culture of the unit.

Fifth: Invite front-line staff to participate anonymously to help identify the challenges facing hospitals, to enact the change needed for improving patient safety. Invite clinical staffs to complete the Risk, Behavior and Culture Survey developed by Infonaut who built into the software an incentive feature to motivate and award stakeholders up to 1.25 hours of professional continuing education credits.

Sixth: Use the results to identify both obstacles and opportunities for introducing specific interventions on a unit-by-unit basis. The survey model serves as an instrument to learn about clinical staff perceptions of their information use habits and norms, and perceptions of patient safety and the role of management.

Seventh: Present to staff the results of these measures which act as a baseline measure for interventions targeting staff attitudes and dynamics. The survey specifically measures:

1. Unit attitudes to patient safety;

2. Unit capacity-to-learn as a group;

3. Unit information culture; and

4. Personal perception of risk.

Eighth: Follow-up retesting after a set period (i.e. a year) to determine measureable change in culture based on the effective interventions and relationships.

D. Benefits of the Technology

Infonaut is useful for solving the challenge of deadly hospital infection through their proprietary real-time surveillance, analytics and behavior improvement platform. Data sets of population health, public health, data-warehousing and privacy were referenced to develop innovative platforms that use the power of location technology, and B.I. systems for disease and infection surveillance.

E. References:

1. http://infectioncontrol.tips/2016/07/05/comprehensive-healthcare-staff-culture-survey/#_edn4

2. http://www.infonautinc.com/

3. http://www.gao.gov/assets/680/675390.pdf

 

App to help everyone become a scientist

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Technology:

Google’s new Science Journal app makes it easy to perform scientific experiments anytime.
The app lets users set up trials and experiments. It uses the sensors on a smart phone to record measure and explore the experiment’s data, and makes the analysis fun and easy to do. (As nerdy as it may sound – it makes science more fun than it already is.)

Article: http://www.treehugger.com/gadgets/google-creates-science-journal-app-inspire-next-generation-scientists.html
and http://www.wired.co.uk/article/google-science-journal-science-app

Sustainability challenge:

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals were launched in 2015. Goal number 4 reads: Quality Education – Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
Making good education accessible to all is a major challenge for our current education system. In most situations, the wealthy still get better access to education and consequently more opportunities. This also means that lifelong learning is currently very expensive – be it for a 10-year-old in 6th grade trying to understand what gravity is, or for a university student who is drowning in debt.

An engaging and user-friendly app can take online learning to the next level. The article has a fun video explain how the Science Journal app works. A little girl in the video says: “Everyone is a scientist”. It looks like the app (along with the right implementation and usage) can make it possible.

Stakeholders:

  • Everyone who has access to a smart phone and the internet
  • Educators – rural, urban, privileged and under-privileged alike
  • Google and their global partner companies and service providers
  • Governments who can regulate education and technology policies
  • NGOs that are supporting SDG Goal 4: Quality Education

Process of implementation:

Introducing any new technology in the field of education has one major challenge – teaching the teacher before they can teach anyone else. Though this app is very easy to use and has an accessible to all, making the best use of it requires some basic training and in some cases also requires you to purchase some ad-ons (additional sensors or apps).

Currently the app has a few free and standard modules. Expanding this and consciously improving the quality of education provided will be another implementation hurdle.

A possible implementation model could be: Promote the app -> partner with schools and NGOs (like the Imagination Foundation) globally to make this accessible to all student -> use real-time data to improve the features offered and remove any bugs -> help provide good quality scientific education to all and promote creativity.

After all, Play is the best form of Research!

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Conceptos Plasticos (Plastic Concepts)

Sustainability Problem:

This technology is addressing plastic waste pollution, by transforming used plastic into bricks. Plastic can take up to 500 years to biodegrade and 75% of plastic produced globally is in a landfill or not formally disposed of.

Technology:

  • The industrial process is called extrusion
  • Uses a multilayered plastics, mixtures of different plastics and rubber to make a quality construction material
  • The bricks are shaped into pieces that interlock with each other making the pieces connect like a puzzle.

Stakeholders:

  • Government
  • Waste Management Facilities
  • People without homes

How to deploy this technology:

  • Estimate cost of extrusion process
  • Estimate amount of plastic needed
  • Involve Waste Management Facilities

References:

Oscar Mendes The man who  provides decent housing for the homeless while reducing waste plastic.

 

 

Home sharing websites and app to help Refugees

Technology:

A home-sharing or temporary housing website and app for refugees and domestic violence victims.
The EmergencyBnB platform provides refugees and domestic violence victims a free place to sleep and live in temporarily.

Article: http://www.takepart.com/article/2016/06/27/emergency-bnb-refugees-and-domestic-violence-survivors
and http://www.citylab.com/housing/2016/06/airbnb-for-refugees/487913/

Sustainability challenge:

The current refugee crisis is undoubtedly the biggest social tragedy (and problem) our generation is facing. In addition to improving the refugee camps, we also need to find ways to re-integrate them back to society and help provide a home and a lifestyle (and possibly friends).

I remember my grandparents’ friends and some professors at Columbia recall their World War II refugee stories. All stories had a couple things in common – adverse and undesirable conditions (in Europe), and harboring refugees. Back then, for some reason, it was easier to trust the victims and welcome them into small family home. Today, the same thought may seem farfetched to some.

Using the AirBnB technology concept and applying that to help provide a temporary home to the victims could help solve this super wicked problem.

Stakeholders:

  • Urban dwellers that have a spare room in their home, and have access to the internet
  • Governments
  • International NGOs
  • Refugees and domestic violence victims
  • Website and application developer/company
  • Society at large

Process of implementation:

Currently the EmergencyBnB website has not gained enough traction. It has been the founder and a few other citizens that have contributed to housing refugees. However, with a few technological, security and marketing improvements, this concept could possibly be successful.

The process sounds simple: the refugees that need temporary accommodation in a foreign city/country can find accommodation by creating an account online. With a few reviews or government recommendations, security concerns can be eliminated. Once the host family has been finalized, the guests can move in and find comfort and possibly friendship in a new country.

Denmark has implemented several “buddy” programs to help integrate refugees better into their society. If several NGOs in Denmark have been running the Let’s Ride project (Website: http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/creative-integration-denmark-to-immigrants-let-s-ride-a-501869.html) successfully since 2006, I am sure implementing a technology solution for the refugee housing crisis will work too.

Current EmergencyBnB seems like a great, interactive and easy to use platform, however, it needs to be marketed effectively to truly drive the impact. It also need a few more security upgrades and support from international NGOs.

EmergencyBnB

(Image above is a screenshot of the website EmergencyBnB)