Smart Mosquito Traps May Prevent Future Zika Virus Outbreaks

The Problem

Category: Health

Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that is causing a significant increase in human birth defects, such as microcephaly.  The virus can be transmitted directly by the Aedes species mosquito or via sex with an infected person.  It is difficult to track and identify when Zika is present because most people infected with the virus do not develop any symptoms.

The Tech

Microsoft is testing a smart trap prototype that specifically catches the Aedes species mosquito, the known Zika transmitter.

Microsoft’s smart trap can detect and trap Aedes mosquitoes by measuring the shadow of its flapping wings.

The smart trap also uses sensors, machine learning, and cloud computing to track weather conditions to learn more about mosquitoes’ behavior and predict future virus outbreaks.


Article Title: Tech companies wage war on disease-carrying mosquitos
Website: Reuters

The Stakeholders Using The Tech

Local public officials
Local facility crewmembers
Property owners/operators

The First Three Steps

1. Continue smart trap prototype testing in cities like Houston to test the smart trap’s proof of concept.

2. Identify other at-risk cities/regions like Houston to pitch the smart trap.

3. Raise awareness within those cities/regions of Zika virus threat and need for a smart trap.

UNI: gm2778

Comment on People & Civic Tech in NYC

“I looked more into the Soofa Smart Bench. It apparently uses sensors to collect data on nearby pedestrians. Parks can use it to determine the most active times of day, which can lead to more effective event planning and development choices. This can also lend itself to marketing opportunities for parks/businesses to advertise local events/promotions during peak hours. I’m left wondering if the device itself can offer other services as it’s sort of clunky and appears to take up a significant amount of space.”

3D Printing – Less Waste and Energy Use/More Recycling Opportunities

Article: 3 Ways 3D Printing Will Save the Environment


  • 3D printing could be a feasible solution to reduce waste in manufacturing.  This is a different type of manufacturing that adds materials to the product until completion, therefore creating less waste.  Less waste means less garbage sent to landfills and less overall pollution.
  • We could also expect a reduction in fossil fuel use as 3D printing becomes more standard and we become less reliant on traditional shipping methods.  Products will be printed within your home instead of delivered by truck.
  • 3D printing could allow for additional recycling opportunities.  For example, a used plastic bottle or other materials could be turned into filament for this printer.

Consumers are the primary stakeholders that must utilize this technology in order to see an impact.  Also, businesses within the manufacturing industry can take advantage of the cost savings from 3D printing.

The first three steps in deploying this product would be:

  1. Partner with manufacturers to implement 3D printing for its products.
  2. Identifying the most efficient ways of recycling using the 3D printer and how this can be done at home.
  3. Providing access to a low cost version of a 3D printer for home use that consumers can use on a daily basis.

EKOCenter: Deka Research & Coca Cola Initiative



Increasingly there is a shortage of fresh water to meet the needs of growing human population across our planet caused by rampant industrialization, wide spread pollution and unhindered commercialization of this once abundant, naturally clean resource.


  • Slingshot – a water purification unit developed by Deka Research (of Dean Kamen fame) uses a technology called vapor compression distillation.
  • Slingshot can purify 250,000 liters of water per year – no matter how dirty, and make it potable for satisfying the needs of 300 people.
  • Partnering with Coca Cola Company, developed a sustainable, entrepreneurial modular system called the EKOCenter integrated with Slingshot to distribute them around many developing locations around the world.


  • Disaster relief and emergency medical organizations like American Red Cross.
  • Companies like Coca Cola, Nestle, Pepsico that use significant amount of fresh water to make their products for consumers around the world.
  • Farmers
  • Governments


  1. Partner with governments and NGO’s in developing countries to identify, support entrepreneurs to invest and manage EKOCenter type systems
  2. Develop funding opportunities through organization sustainability commitments, government subsidies and micro-loans for entrepreneurs.
  3. Recommend an internship program with a partnership between Columbia University and Coca Cola to enable interested students to install EKOCenters in various countries/locations of their choice.




Water and Pollution in the Textile Dyeing Industry


Problem: Water Usage and Pollution Caused by Dyeing Textiles

Textile dyeing is estimated to cause 17-20% of the global industrial water pollution. Until recently, little attention was given to the environmentally harmful effects of the dyeing process, when it comes to chemicals, waste, and water usage.

Technology: 10 Awesome Innovations Changing the Future of Fashion” by Melissa Breyer

  • A new technology, AirDye developed in California by Colorep, works with proprietary dyes to transfer color with heat from paper to fabric in a one-step process.
  • Basically, it has created a software that “computes color recipes that reproduces the specified color reflectance curve on a target substrate”.
  • This process has the potential to save between 7 and 75 gallons of water in the dying of a pound of fabric. It can save energy and produces no harmful chemical by-products.
  • Furthermore, the technology uses 85 percent less energy than traditional dying methods.


  • AirDye tech engineers/designers
  • Colorep engineers
  • Technological partners
  • Investors
  • Fashion designers
  • Clothing retailers


  • In order to implement this technology on a large-scale, a number of investors need to be introduced
  • Fashion designers must begin to use the technology to introduce the innovation to the public and encourage its usage down the supply chain i.e. factories and low-end designers/retailers.  For example, AirDye has become a vital component to the designers Costello Tagliapietra and Gretchen Jones and was used for their Fall 2012 collection
  • Governments in countries that manufacture dyed textiles should subsidize this technology to consumers (factories and managers who buy it) so that it can bring down the price, encourage product development, establish familiarity of the product, ensure future customers and therefore be more easily implemented in the thousands of dyeing factories around the world.







Amsterdam Uses Living Plants to Generate Electricity

1) The Technology In Use === literal definition: power plant; harvesting electric power from living plants.

Dutch scientists have come up with a way to harness electricity from living plants and use it to power street lights, cell phone chargers and WiFi hot spots. These small-scale applications use a byproduct of photosynthesis in plants.  Think of it as solar energy.  The unused energy produced by plants is excreted as excess sugars through the root system and consumed by micro-organisms. This consumption frees electrons.  In a process patented by Wageningen University in 2007, carbon electrodes are placed close to the roots to generate electricity.

2) The Sustainability Problem ===

  • Clean and green approach
  • Renewable form of energy; generates power day and night (unlike solar or wind)
  • Uses resources from the natural world
  • Future application: electrifying poor or inaccessible locations

3) The Technology Stakeholders ===

  • Businesses (producers of technology and business consumers)
  • Suppliers of component parts
  • Individual residents/consumers
  • Utilities
  • Governments (developed & developing countries)
  • Multilateral institutions: civil society organizations (CSOs)

4) Process for Technology Implementation ===

  • Identify needs of consumers/population
  • Determine economic efficiency/profitability; cost of tech vs ROI
  • Involve consumers in planning projects
  • Start with pilot project, then replicate
  • Monitor results; adjust or abandon initiative
  • Foster collaboration between nations under multilateral organization
  • Share new technology and best practices

The ultimate goal is to perfect the process and reduce cost so that plant electricity can be deployed in rural and difficult to reach areas, typically found in poorer countries where an estimated 25 percent of the world’s population is without power.