Exclusive: 21 Proposals For A Better Future From Singularity U’s 2012 Class
This year's Graduate Studies Program (GSP) at Singularity University -- the learning institution focused on future-shaping technologies -- is wrapping up an intense 10-week summer. To celebrate, an expo event, including the Closing Ceremony, was held at the Computer History Museum. The GSP is the biggest program that the University runs every year, filtering through over 3,000 applications to identify 80 students tasked with impacting the lives of a billion people in the next 10 years along eight grand challenges: education, global health, energy, environment, food, water, security, and poverty.
Over the last few weeks, students broke up into 21 teams and presented their ideas aimed at nothing short of changing the world. The presentations came in a rapid-fire format to a standing-room only audience, and it was impressive how the teams distilled their passions into viable proposals that often tackled multiple grand challenges at once. Although not all of the ideas are ready to hit the ground running, SU fully expects that many of them will turn into full fledged companies over the next year.
You can read more about the Closing Ceremony here, but check out the short synopses of the teams below.
BaPS connects babies born prematurely to their family members through a blanket that provides sensory data about the infant. Through an array of sensors embedded in the incubator and accompanying blanket, parents and relatives are able to bond emotionally with their child even though they are physically separated.
Care9 is a global health platform to be a one-stop website providing healthcare support via interactive AI and a means to manage relationships with a user's healthcare team. Through the service, 24/7 care and diagnosis are made accessible by combining electronic medical records, telemedicine, and even social networks.
Clinical Sense wants to put clinical trials on the fast track by employing smartphones to improve participation and enable continuous bidirectional investigator-patient communication. This is made possible through a mobile-based platform of apps and physical sensors that relay essential health-related data back to trial managers in real time.
Empifi aims to sense and quantify people's biosignals through wearable devices like jewelry that can provide feedback to improve mood. By assessing a user's location, the mobile platform can invoke music in an effort to relieve psychological stress, known to be a major detriment to health.
Jumiya incentivizes wellness by correlating interest rate discounts at credit unions to routine exercise. With the slogan "Get cash rewards for healthy living," the service allows users to improve their financial health concurrently with their physical health.
Med Sensation is a prototype Tricorder glove enabling doctors to conduct physical exams while collecting information from a variety of sensors (temperature, vibration, sound, accelerometers, and force). With a goal to "enhance human capabilities of touch," the glove can not only help clinicians, but can be used for patient self exams and as part of training in medical school.
TellWell is a sensor with the slogan "TellWell - to tell whether your water is well" that attaches to a water faucet to continuously monitor 19 chemical contaminants and pathogens. Measurements are ported to a smartphone and the results are aggregated in the cloud.
BioBridge capitalizes on the technological advances in vitrification and cryopreservation over the last 5-7 years to make cryofreezing accessible.
Disrupting War is a "campaign of campaigns" to utilize crowdsourcing to generate support and facilitate campaigns to disrupt conflicts, which are currently affecting around 50 million people globally. By initially targeting Mexican drug trafficking, the team plans to use social media and videos to educate and empower people caught up in conflicts.
Eyevid is a lifeblogging application to collect, store, and organize your experiences and break them up into searchable, contextualized pieces. With a teaser like "imagine if you could Google your brain," the platform is aimed to be used in conjunction with a lifestream-capturing, head-mounted display, such as Google Glass.
Infinity is "creating endless possibilities with unmanned aerial vehicles." As an example, the team demonstrated a zero G parabola with a drone and is looking to utilize the system for designing cheaper and faster zero G experiments along with applications like 3D mapping.
Ubertas aims to change farming by constructing near-city offshore farms on lakes and oceans. Using a sustainable, aquaponic system in which plants and fish live in symbiotic environment fueled by solar energy, fresh organic food that is less expensive can be grown locally and reduce supply chain costs.
X&Y Genomics turns an individual's genome into unique 3D jewelry through an algorithm that interprets genetic information and risk factors toward disease. With a vision to help people have "the context to understand, talk about, and share their personal genetic information," the team aims to marry science and aesthetics into a highly personalized physical object that you can wear.
Poverty and Employment
The Blackest Sheep is a website "connecting creative people with creative companies" by assessing and quantifying creativity in multiple dimensions. In its short existence, the team has already formed over 100 corporate partnerships, including Coca-Cola, Red Bull, and HP, to bring their platform to help companies identify creativity.
Lemontopia, a career recommendation engine, aims to help new college graduates and those who lack passion for their jobs assess their skills and interests in a more whimsical way: by playing games. Companies can make their own games and use the service to identify "diamonds in the rough" who are misplaced in jobs.
MobiTrader is a "mobile and web-based informal job platform for the bottom of the pyramid," that is, emerging markets, such as Nigeria. Using MobiTrader, anyone can hire another person for work in less than a minute using its rating and review system and message them with the job details. The initial target is to release in developing countries where significant numbers of people lack bank accounts or credit cards to receive payments.
Popcorn is a platform that allows users to earn extra money by completing microtasks for local businesses using their smartphones. The innovation focuses on users in markets where hours are wasted in daily commutes and smartphone integration is high, such as Brazil.
J.D. Ham is a software console to make unmanned aerial vehicles accessible for a variety of applications. Targeting agriculture in Texas as its first project, the platform will allow programming of robotic drones and visualization of acquired data.
UrbiAnalytics has a goal of utilizing open data, social intelligence, and sensors to enable predictive and more efficient governance. The team's first task is to create an application to enable bidirectional communication between citizens and local government.
WiFli wants to make low-cost Internet access globally accessible to "empower people to realize their full economic and intellectual potential." As a pilot project, the team helped an elementary school in the Philippines with 1,234 students and 26 teachers establish a computer lab and get networked.
Eddefy is a platform to map user learning paths, which incorporates digital assets and shows how they've been utilized, that can be shared and matched to others. By aiming to "filter, sort, and recommend the best of the educational web," users can set learning goals and track the progress of their network in real time as the system adapts to user's learning style.