Billions and Billions Helped. Singularity University’s Graduating Class Presents Their Ideas For Changing the World

SU 2011 featureEvery year Singularity University gets better and better. The school that leverages cutting edge technology to help billions of people around the world just graduated their third crop of summer students, and I was lucky enough to attend their closing ceremonies. From poverty to power, the Graduate Summer Program Class of 2011 aimed to tackle the grand challenges that face humanity. To do so, they formed groups that will launch to become their own businesses and NGOs, each fixed on trying to improve the lives of 1 billion+ people in the next ten years using accelerating technology. Watch their group presentations, and the culmination of their summer long education, in the many videos below. Planning for the world of tomorrow, GSP 2011 created some truly innovative, and admirable solutions in the fields of poverty, energy, education, security, global health, and space. I’m proud to be able to give you this inside look at Singularity University’s next generation of global leaders.

Before we start with the group presentations, here’s a brief video played during the closing ceremony to help the audience understand the intense experience these students shared over their ten weeks together:

I’d like to start with the group that thrilled my inner nerd the most. Matternet had a unique take on solving the Third World’s transportation problem: drones. Using the quadrotors that we regularly see buzzing around as spies and toys, Matternet hopes to create an automated courier service that would be cheaper than road travel for small package delivery. From medicine to electronics, Matternet could allow remote locations receive the goods they need to survive and thrive. The video shown in the presentation can be watched on its own here.

Another personal favorite was Ignisolar, an energy solution that hoped to create a cheaper, more flexible, and more easily deployed method for collecting solar power for electricity. Instead of a big bulky glass substrate, Ignisolar uses reflective fabric and a cheap frame to create a solar collector that could be used almost anywhere.

Continuing with energy we have Play Energy – hoping to use our inclination to game to help solve the global energy crisis:

In the space discipline we have Astro Trash, a startup looking to clear the junk from space so we can explore it, enjoy it, and grow it as the resource it needs to be. A version of the video seen in the presentation can be found here.

In the security discipline were two great teams. The first, Project Instance, is looking to helping you protect and own your data online. Meanwhile, Corruption Tracker hopes to use crowd sourcing to help pinpoint and even eliminate the oppression and economic drain that comes from corrupt officials. You can find Project Instance’s overview video here, and my apologies but I was unable to capture the entire Corruption Tracker presentation due to technical difficulties.

In global health we have Primer Life and Senstore. Primer Life wants to use social networking power to give patient’s personalized advice for the longterm healthcare. Senstore is aiming to create a new way of prototyping, developing, and sharing sensor devices. Really cool stuff:

Rounding us out in education we have two exciting ideas. Our Global Story wants to help teenagers all over the world share videos of their lives. Smart Girls is aimed at harnessing the underutilized human capital contained in young women all over the world.

Finally, I thought I would share Brinkley Warren’s heartfelt and humorous speech given to his fellow classmates at the ceremony’s end:

From 2200 applicants GSP 2011 took 80 students from 35 nations, each person at the top of their game. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s the students that ultimately make Singularity University the remarkable place that it is. Yes the faculty is amazing. Yes the experiences in the GSP would probably change lives of anyone. But if SU is to leave a lasting legacy, if it’s going to really help a billion people in the next ten years, it will be because its students took the lessons they learned, went out into the world, and made a difference. These group presentations, while varied in their approach and rigor, give me great hope that SU’s greatest resource is aimed in the right direction. Congratulations to everyone in GSP ’11. We’re all looking forward to seeing what you do next.

*An apology: Technical difficulties plagued our recording at the SU GSP 2011 closing ceremonies. Video and audio quality are not what they should be, and we really need to have a working tripod. Also, some content was simply lost – a terrible death for such lively data. Still, I hope you enjoy these videos and rest assured we are currently upgrading our system so that future events will be captured in the quality they deserve.

[image credit: Singularity University]

[source: Singularity University]

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