In a first-ever collaboration with The Aspen Institute and The Atlantic, Stanford will be sending three student teams to present their design projects at the Aspen Ideas Festival this June. To find these three teams, we put out the call for anyone at Stanford to apply for the chance to be one of seven teams presenting in the Finalists’ Night. The response was overwhelming. We received over 50 amazing applications ranging from a science journal for high-school students to a marketplace for swapping lives for a day. Choosing the seven finalists was extremely difficult because all were worthy of five minutes in front of the judges. We’ve therefore decided to post a smattering of the entries here on the d.school blog to give you a taste of the great breadth of talent across Stanford and just what they’re getting up to.
The Seven Finalists
On modern counter-insurgency missions, soldiers are deployed in smaller units than ever before. What was once by a platoon of 40 is now accomplished with a fire team of 6. If a single soldier is wounded, it can cause a critical loss of unit effectiveness. Upon injury, one of a medic’s first treatment actions will be the commencement of fluid resuscitation –the delivery of IV fluids and/or medication directly into the bloodstream. However, IV fluid delivery in the field remains inefficient, inaccurate and low pressure. Medics waste valuable time and human resources elevating the bag, manually regulating and regularly monitoring flow. CombatIV is an enhanced IV bag that gives medics in the field the capabilities of a modern infusion pump at the same size, weight and cost of a traditional IV bag. Our team of Veterans and Stanford students has redesigned the IV bag for the US military of the 21st century.
REwiRE (Rural Electrification with Renewable Energy) will provide cheap, clean electricity to rural communities in emerging markets without affordable or reliable access. REwiRE will develop mini-grids using the most reliable and cost-effective renewable resources, a financial strategy suitable for large-scale transformations, and close community involvement. REwiRE is changing the paradigm of rural electrification, starting with remote islands in Indonesia where extending the national grid is difficult and fuel shipments are intermittent and expensive. Although in its early stages, REwiRE is already generating buzz. In April, we won the International Impact Investing Challenge and presented at the Milken Institute Global Conference, where our idea gathered momentum and we received expressions of interest from potential investors. We are currently seeking more funding and business partnerships so we can pursue this venture full-time beginning in summer 2012. Learn more at www.rewireworldwide.com
Our organization is called SocialTeeth, and we are committed to supporting citizen media. SocialTeeth provides a neutral online platform for individuals and organizations to launch their video, audio and print messages into the mass media by crowdsourcing funds for ad space in popular media channels. We aim to empower ordinary citizens to speak out, through messages they produce and believe in, with the same reach and volume as large moneyed corporations PACs. Our goal is to increase viewpoint diversity, encourage substantive discourse in the mainstream media, and by doing so, to strengthen our nation’s democracy.
The CompactCath team was formed in March 2011 as part of a new d.school course, Design for Service Innovation. Discussions with youth who self-catheterize, consultation with medical professionals in pediatric urology and further research have revealed that the current urinary catheter market is dominated by products targeted for the hospital environment, rather than the broad world of independent users. The CompactCath is a simple, innovative solution for individuals with urinary incontinence that redesigns the catheter’s packaging, reduces its size and noisiness and promotes improved hygiene. Unlike traditional packaging, the CompactCath stores catheters of appropriate length (10” maximum for pediatric users) in a coiled form that creates a compact, less intimidating, 2”x2” package that can easily be hidden from others and, if discovered, does not reveal the purpose of the device. The CompactCath also incorporates a novel, straw-like sliding sheath around the tip of the catheter that can be used to deploy and retract the catheter without touching it directly.
Children today have many competing digital distractions, such as video games and social media. Of the 7+ hours kids spend consuming media each day, only 25 minutes are spent reading. This is a major problem, as studies have shown that a child’s exposure to linear storytelling leads to higher rates of literacy and creativity in adulthood. To reignite the love of reading within kids twelve and under, we are re-imagining the reading and storytelling experience. We are building a publishing platform that combines interactivity, 3D animation, adaptive text, gaming mechanics, and social interaction. Our app will be published in the app store as a community portal for interactive stories. In the long run, we will consider ourselves successful when parents have to take away the iPad because their kids are reading too much.
We’re developing a tool to connect people who shoot video on mobile devices with news websites that are looking for quality content. We are journalists currently on a Knight fellowship at Stanford, and our team includes a product engineer, an MBA and digital designer. We believe our hybrid company will do social good in bringing unheard voices to mainstream audiences and be profitable as we sell unique stories to traditional news organizations. We’re building a new kind of media company, one premised on our belief that media creation and dissemination have an important civic duty. We are currently in the LaunchPad class at the D-School, and set to launch our company in a few weeks.
SparkTruck, an initiative started by six Stanford grads at the d.school, is an educational build-mobile full of 21st century shop tools like laser cutters and 3D printers. Through our workshops and problem-solving framework, we’re helping kids find the confidence to affect the world around them. We believe that the action of crafting a physical artifact can teach so much, not only about math and physics, but about the importance of failure and iteration, and it can instill a sense of confidence and self-efficacy that is in such critical demand and such low supply. This summer, SparkTruck will embark on a cross-country road trip, bringing the joy of making back to kids. Learn more at www.sparktruck.org
PolicyFlow connects users to a personalized and streamlined legislative content from the United States Congress, and provides a forum for users to discuss legislation. The project is built around its revolutionary feature, PolicyFeed, which provides the user with a stream of policy bill action updates based on their interests, similar to a Twitter or Facebook feed. Main additional features include a bill page where users learn about, follow and “vote” on the proposed bills, connect and share opinions with other users on the PolicyForum, and quickly aggregate and communicate their ideas with their representative Congressmen with PolicyForce. Using these interactive tools, users can work towards building their civic profile online, a feature that will be developed in later versions.
What if there was some way to reduce our stress and frustration in the middle of work and restore calm and happiness back in ourselves? In the bleakest of situations, only the unexpected, spontaneous, novel, and cute seem to have the ability to “pick us up” and spark positive emotions and energy. MakeMeSmile is mobile and web app aimed at reducing work related stress and frustration by restoring calm and happiness into people’s lives. Targeted at the college-aged student and young professional, MakeMeSmile serves as the user’s personal happy list, an aggregator of cute animal pictures, funny comics, memes, animated gifs, and short videos that are all generated according to the user’s interests and likes. Based on a voting system and the content a user adds to his or her happy list, MakeMeSmile will try to generate content that it thinks will make the user happiest. To be most effective, MakeMeSmile sends users a notification on their mobile devices at a preselected time of day when they are likely to feel most stressed out. Clicking on the notification leads users to the app, where they can peruse the media generated especially for them. Users can also upload a variety of their own media—images, text, videos, and recordings— from mobile devices and computers. Additionally, users can suggest media to add to their friends’ happy lists, as well as access the most popular content across all users.
Phoenix Global Impact
The People’s Republic of China has reached an inflection point. Never before have the decisions before it been more influenced by the need to meet increasingly complex social dynamics through innovation. As a team, Phoenix Global Impact (PGI) sees very clearly China’s potential to pioneer measures aimed at achieving positive social impact both within and beyond its borders. As an emerging global power, China serves as a unique platform for positive financial and social investing. China’s economic growth trajectory in recent years has established an expectation of return which will continue to strengthen as the market matures. With the second highest GDP in the world, China stands at the brink of a financial upswing which can be greatly encouraged by innovation and a leveraging of its resources. Along with this economic growth, come the social and environmental challenges that are equally significant. After President Hu Jintao stressed the necessity of taking action to improve public welfare and protect the environment, many valuable social investment opportunities were opened. Phoenix Global Impact plans to support Chinese initiatives to improve public and environmental welfare in China and abroad.
Beantown Bedding: Laundry-free Linens
Beantown Bedding introduces a whole new concept…Laundry-Free Linens! These innovative, compostable and biodegradable bed sheets can be used for a few weeks and discarded in the trash or compost bin. Save water, save energy, save time! Made from ecological award winning natural wood pulp fiber, the performance of this fabric is breakthrough – cool, comfortable and exceptionally hygienic. A natural, chemical-free barrier against allergens and microbe growth makes these sheets a “wicked smart” choice for dorms, camps, and vacation homes. Sheets happen, so what are you waiting for?
TheLifeSwap.com is a marketplace for life experiences. Hosts, build relationships with people who admire you and want to learn more about you. Guests, shadow someone for a day to explore another vocation or have the experience you have always dreamed of.
Stanford’s Start.Home will revolutionize green living through the seamless integration of software and hardware in a home that can grow as your needs change. Our modular design will allow for easy customization, while our prefabricated core will provide you with user-friendly control systems to achieve net-zero. The Start.Home will be simple, elegant, and affordable. Whether you’re well versed in clean technology, or just hoping to invest in a home that can grow with you, Start.Home will provide sustainability at the push of a button.
We understand that making smart food decisions can be hard, and sometimes confusing. Nutrivise is here to guide your decisions and provide you with meal suggestions tailored to your goals and lifestyle. We start with cutting edge nutritional research from the world’s top research universities and tailor their recommendations to YOUR body and lifestyle. It boils down to providing a level of abstraction that bridges complex nutritional research and everyday eating habits. Nutrivise is the first diet and lifestyle management paired with a true food decision engine–engaging with users by creating individually tailored (personally optimized across 40+ different nutrients), totally flexible, and lifestyle compliant meal plans.
Green Events Consulting
Green Events Consulting (GEC) is a student-led consulting service that promotes sustainable practices on campus by encouraging student groups to “green” their events. Student groups that work with us are each assigned a team of GEC consultants, and these project teams present recommendations to groups based on the research they conduct on sustainable alternatives for the food, purchasing, advertising, and waste aspects of each event. GEC also offers funding to cover the cost difference between sustainable alternatives and conventional event options to ensure that price does not serve as a barrier. Our objective is not only to tangibly increase the number of campus events that are executed in an environmentally sustainable manner, but also to engage a diversity of student organizations in the decision-making process, thereby creating a base of active and informed students who understand the complexities of “sustainability in practice” and can readily utilize that knowledge.
JOURNYS (Journal of Youths in Science)
Science and math are crucial to the economic and cultural success of the United States, yet students across the nation both underachieve and are often unmotivated to participate in the sciences. JOURNYS (Journal of Youths in Science), an open-access youth-driven science publication, seeks to increase interest and achievement in STEM fields for precollege youths. Unlike most science magazines, JOURNYS provides the unique opportunity for students, themselves, to get published. Through writing and editing scientific articles, JOURNYS immerses students in authentic scientific communication, sharing their work with the rest of the community. Articles and research of student authors are easily accessible online, and students and professionals alike are welcome to leave comments, ask questions, or find inspiration for their own research. So far, JOURNYS has published over 200 articles in 7 issues, and is piloting chapters in eight high schools. Please visit www.journys.org for more information!
Shruti – Medication Adherence in Low Income Countries
The advancing tide of chronic diseases – diabetes, obesity, hypertension and heart disease – is a major threat globally. Controlling chronic disease, both in India and around the world, will require innovative long-term solutions that help patients make and sustain crucial lifestyle changes. We believe that medication adherence shouldn’t have to be challenging. In a low-literacy setting in southern India, we are developing simple, effective, and scalable solutions to ensure adherence to a complex medical regimen after heart surgery. Our solution marries education theory, team psychology, and rudimentary technology to engage low-literacy patients in complex cardiovascular care. The beauty of our technology is its scalability in a number of directions. It can be applied to all chronic medications like insulin and hypertension meds. And, it can also be applied across a number of hospitals and institutions, in India and in other places serving the needs of a population with little access to resources and health literacy. At Shruti we recognize that there are several challenges to achieving a hearty healthy lifestyle. But we believe that literacy should not be one of them.
Keepsake Storybooks is an easy-to-use online experience that allows Grandparents the ability to pass on their life stories to their grandchildren in the form of Children’s Books. The user is coached through the process of thinking of and creating a story, illustrating that story with professional-grade media and publishing and sharing their book. In the end, their grandchildren have a tangible keepsake that’s quality is respectful of the story it tells and the Grandparents have an eBook to share with a diverse online community. Currently, there are more than 50M baby boomers that have grandchildren and shop online. We plan to target those that have grandchildren between the ages of 2-7 because it is our point of view that Grandparents love passing on their history because it makes them feel known, appreciated and remembered. Our team is composed of Jules Sherman-Stanford MS Design, 15-year professional designer with the product vision; Dr. Stephen Racunas- CMU/Princeton/Stanford, 20-year professional computer engineer; Mark Rogers- Stanford MS Design, 7-year professional designer with UI/UX and CSS design expertise; and Zach Osborne- West Point/Stanford MBA student, former US Army Captain with experience leading large teams.
Over the last few decades there has been a clear decline in political engagement in a large number of African countries as evidenced by decreasing voter turnout rates and surveys indicating lack of political awareness. Research suggests that the political apathy of voters is rooted in the lack of communication between politicians and their constituency which often occurs once ever election cycle. In areas that are less connected than the developed world, Jiunga.com is creating a platform that allows government authorities to communicate with their constituents via SMS. The pilot will begin in Tanzania and Kenya and will expand to other countries in the coming years.
Off-grid or in the wild, FlameStower is a small, portable powerplant that uses waste heat from campstoves and any open flame to charge or power portable electronic devices. The outlet is habit – we believe that putting power into our own hands will help continue the global push toward clean, efficient energy, and enable those in developing regions to adopt IT innovation before the grid.