Sensors warning of water-shortages

  1. Sustainability Problem: Water shortages due to anthropogenic forces and natural variations in climate patterns.
  2. Technology: These sensors made using an ink from carbon nanotubes dissolved in an organic compound called sodium dodecyl sulfate, were created my MIT engineers. They can be printed on plant leaf pores, creating an electronic circuit warning when a water shortage may be coming thus alerting farmers that their crops are in danger giving them time to plan solutions. Plant stomata responds to light, to carbon dioxide concentration and to drought, which can be monitored more closely for better agricultural practices.
  3. Stakeholders:
    1. Agricultural farmers
    2. Food & beverage and other industries with large agriculture supply chain
    3. Sustainable investors
    4. Developing countries concerned with drought and flooding
    5. Consumers
  4.  Implementation:
    1. Continue researching into whether detection of water stress can be earlier than 2 days. Also continue research into creating arrays of these sensors that could be used to detect light and capture images like a camera and create a database.
    2. Encourage those concerned climate change effects on agriculture, to invest and run pilot projects for these sensors.
    3. Bring this technology to market and determine where else in agriculture it can be used.
  5. Response to: JM4202
    • The mesh in the catch bag is made from recycled plastic mesh, and currently recycled HDPE ocean plastics are also being trialed in the production of the Seabins to see what content recycled material vs. virgin materials they can utilize. Creating this product with more oil absorption technology would be even more beneficial. My two questions are: What is done with the debris collected from these mesh bags and how much more efficient is this catch bag in comparison to other technologies currently on the market?

GOVTECH enables Singapore Government to better serve its citizens.

1) Sustainability Problem: In today’s fast moving and resource-constrained world cities are facing challenges becoming smarter and be more efficient. Singapore Government is aiming for to become a first Smart Nation by 2020 which means people are empowered by technology to lead meaningful and fulfilled lives.

2) Technology Summary: The new Government Technology Agency (GovTech) was created to advance engineering support to smart nation developments and restore old e-government services. GovTech has lined up several new projects – including a digital vault of citizens data for the auto-filling of banking forms and an autonomous wheelchair prototype – to drive digital transformation in the public sector.

-Lined up several new projects – a digital vault of citizens’ personal data for the auto-filling of banking forms and an autonomous wheelchair prototype – to drive digital transformation in the public sector. Identified following five key domains that will have a significant impact on the citizen and society, and in which digital technology can have a needle moving impact:


– Focus on six key areas: application development, data science, government infrastructure, geospatial technology, cybersecurity and smart sensors.


Source: Irene Tham, “GovTech launched to lead digital transformation in public sector”, The Straits Times OCT 7, 2016

Tags: #smartcity, #smartnation #technology #data #tarnsport #envirnoment #healthcare #publicsectorservices

3) Key Stakeholders :

  1. Government Technology Agency of Singapore
  2. Public Sectors
  3. Private sectors
  4. People

4) Steps Deploying Technology:

Public-Private People’s Partnership is the key to successful deployment of the
– Educate citizens and visitors to use data (Technological literacy)
– Build a community and infrastructure
– Constant update and improvement

Other Sources:

1. Smart Nation Singapore

2. GOVTECH Singapore 

3. Government Technology Agency of Singapore, Oct 6, 2016, Youtube 

4. Computer World “Smart Cities”, Dec 12, 2016


Sensors to measure and monitor water quality in real time


Sensors made from gallium nitride can be placed in any body of water to deliver real-time, continuous monitoring of water quality.



Sustainability challenge:

While tackling water problems around the world, it is very hard to get the right data at the right time to help speed up the decision making process to manage the water problems. Getting access to real time water data can help make better watershed management, water pollution and water supply decisions. Having data about the entire water system, rather than about specific points along the system, will also help tackle the water problem immediately.

Collecting the data regarding the water is currently a long and cumbersome process: You first physically collect the sample of water along certain specific points. You then take this to the laboratory and test the small sample for specific contaminants. This process only helps prove a hypothesis, it doesn’t throw light on the current situation without any assumptions.

Getting real time access to water quality data can be effective in any and all countries alike. Important steps can be taken by the authorities like the EPA, Water Corporation and Department of Water


  • Governments and Water (utility) departments
  • Researchers
  • Universities
  • Private companies working in sustainability and water management
  • Communities around critical water sources

Process of implementation:

The process needs to be customized for each water body in each region/country. An overall process flow that is necessary involves: Partnership with the government or respective utility department -> Invest in buying the sensors -> Deploy the sensors along the entire water system -> Track and monitor the data -> Use data to make relevant water system decisions

Some examples where I think this would be very relevant:

  1. Polluted water systems clean-up efforts: Like the Gowanus Canal or the Ganga river

Development around crucial water systems: Like the Ala Wai Canal in Hawaii or that entire watershed


Detecting Forest Fires using Wireless Sensor Networks

Sustainability Problem

Forest fires have adverse effects on a wide range of environmental, social, and economic assets and are 46% above the 10 year average so far in 2016 in the US.

Technology Article 

  • Most of the time forest fires are discovered too late because they have already spread.
  • Apart from prevention, early detection is the most effective way to minimize casualties and damages.
  • DIMAP-FactorLink, which under the name of SISVIA Vigilancia y Seguimiento Ambiental jointly commercialize projects for the environmental protection, have developed and integrated a forest fires detection system using the products of Libelium.
  • The covered area is about 210 hectares in the North Spain region, comprising the Communities of Asturias and Galicia.
  • The aim was to provide to different organizations of an environmental monitoring infrastructure, with capability to have alert management and to deliver early warning alarms.
  • The system has 3 main parts, the wireless sensor network, the communications network, and the reception center.


  • DIMAP-FactorLink
  • Libelium
  • Residents of areas that are in danger of having forest fires
  • Fire fighters
  • Governments


  • The companies form partnerships with governments and install the systems to monitor forest fires.
  • People are trained to use the technology.
  • These sensors and systems can be used in cities as well.

Other sources:

Sensibo: When A/Cs smartly adjust to people’s lifestyle

1) Uncontrolled A/C systems in transportation and public buildings is a major issue that makes daily life uncomfortable and unhealthy for many New Yorkers in the Summer. In addition, public and private air conditioning systems are energy intensive and cost a lot to customers each year.

2) Article:

  • Sensibo is a start up that commercializes climate control devices/pods, making existing remote controlled air conditioners smarter and controllable from anywhere
  • Sensibo is a small IR compatible pod that contains different sensors (temperature, humidity, iBecons, Light sensor, IR receiver) and that is fixed on existing air conditioners and connected to an app. It makes the air temperature and fan speed vary thanks to location-based activation (it turns of when you leave the room or home) or timer settings (you can cool your home before you arrive), or temperature and humidity-based A/C level optimization
  • Sensibo enables different A/C units from different types to be all controlled using one simple interface – to manage an entire building heating/cooling systems
  • The major benefits of the technology are: saving up to 40% of energy and reducing electricity bills AND enhancing thermal comfort in home or public indoor environments

3) I work for Sensibo and plan to deploy the Sensibo device in public buildings and university campus to benefit from the temperature and humidity-based A/C level optimization.

The stakeholders that will need to use the technology found are:

  • NYC Department of Buildings
  • Building owners/operators
  • Building Operation Manager in charge of Building Energy Management System (BEMS)
  • Thermal Systems Engineers
  • Sensibo

4) 3 implementation steps

  • Propose a partnership to the NYC Department of Buildings to launch a SMART A/C program throughout the city, targeting public buildings and university campus and launch pilot project on Columbia University Campus
  • Survey and report all existing remote controlled air conditioners in each of the campus’s building and facility and install the pods on each A/C unit to build a centrally controlled system at the university level
  • Measure energy cost reduction on pilot campus and expand the program citywide to other campus and city buildings and infrastructure.