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.)
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.
- 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!
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.
- 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.
- 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
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.
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.
- Urban dwellers that have a spare room in their home, and have access to the internet
- 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.
(Image above is a screenshot of the website EmergencyBnB)
Problem: In Malawi, drying fish is currently achieved by chopping down trees and burning the logs, which simultaneously removes a carbon sink and produces additional carbon emissions.
2) The technology: solar tents: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/06/tech-solar-tent-boosts-malawis-dried-fish-industry-160609125320780.html
– A new “solar tent” allows fisherman to dry their fish only using only solar energy.
– A polyethylene sheet is hung over a wooden frame shaped so as to maximize the captured solar heat and ensure optimal airflow.
– The tent is more sanitary than the wood-burning open-air drying, which exposes the fish to dust, pests and contaminants. Fishermen thus lose fewer fish to spoilage.
– Farmers get a higher price for cleaner, higher quality dried fish and don’t need to cut down as many trees (just enough for the wooden frame, which can be used for years).
– Sustainability is paired with economic development.
– Local and international development NGOs
– Fish buyers
– Local councils in fishing communities
4) The first 3 steps in deploying this technology
- Perform research to compare economic and environmental impacts of an average wood-burning fishery compared to a solar tent fishery based on the pilot project.
- Identify fishermen using wood-burning strategies and gauge interest in solar tents.
- Solicit funding from local and international NGOs to provide credit and/or grants to build tents for interested fishermen.
- Sustainability Problem: There is an increase in demand for supply chain transparency. This stems from the larger issue that there are supply chain risks which include labor and manufacturing issues, geopolitical conflict, and raw material shortages.
- Interactive online mapping technologies allow companies to gain visibility into their supply chain.
- Companies can use underlying data that they already collect through exisiting supplier reported data and audits.
- Marks & Spenser, a U.K. retailer used this mapping technology to identify factories. When the user zooms in on a factory, information such as the factory address, number of workers, and gender of workers is shown. The technology has the ability to incorporate detailed information regarding environmental and social issues reported at each factory.
- Mapping technology developers
- Individuals affected in supply chains (for example, factory workers)
- Developers can market supply chain technologies to businesses demonstrating that it helps companies meet internal and global sustainability goals.
- Regulators have started implementing disclosure requirements in some industries and countries. Partner with goverments to ensure companies use supply chain mapping technology.
- Technology developers can become involved in consumer education campaigns that promote advocacy efforts involving supply chains to promote this technology.
Technology: Solar powered reverse osmosis water desalination system
Stakeholders: Villagers living in the desert that need clean water
Process: Bottom-up approach, The Barefoot Movement
When addressing sustainability challenges using technology, we often adopt a top-down approach – we bring together a bunch of well-educated science and/or management graduates who try to address the problem by inventing something. That is undoubtedly an interesting approach, and has given us several incredible leaders to look up to. In this post, I want to highlight a bottom-up approach where in women from communities use experiential learning methods to use technology to address sustainability challenges within their villages.
Rajasthan, a state in India, is home to the wide and inhospitable Thar desert. The Barefoot College is an international non-governmental organization based out of Tilonia, a village in this desert. Like any other desert environment, the Thar desert has abundant sun light and very little water. A major challenge within this village was to provide the villagers with clean drinking water in spite of the minimal rainfall, desert conditions, and available brackish water. The Barefoot College brought illiterate women from the village together to construct India’s first solar powered reverse osmosis plant that produces 3,600 litres of clean water every day and provides drinking water for over 1,000 villagers. This solar powered water desalination facility is powered by a 2.5- kilowatt self-constructed solar generator, that creates an uninterrupted supply of water without relying on the electric grid. This technology along with well integrated rainwater harvesting technology and the Neer Jaal website (with information about ground water) has helped make clean water available for several villages in India.
Adopting a bottom-up process made the implementation of this technology seamless and successful. The Barefoot movement put thought leadership into action within rural environments across 3 continents.
This TED talk tells us more about the process implementation and the approach that made grassroots initiatives successful: https://www.ted.com/talks/bunker_roy?language=en
More about the technology is available here: http://www.barefootcollege.org/solution/water/