Jason Hong: Smarter Phones

Jason Hong

Jason Hong is investigating privacy and security issues for pervasive computing, including smartphone apps. His work focuses on the human element of these security issues and examines how to empower people so that they have better control over and feedback about their personal information. His work has already garnered a great deal of attention from the popular press, including articles in MIT Tech Review, TechRepublic, New York Times and an appearance on the CBS “Morning Show.” Hong’s work draws on ideas and methods from human-computer interaction, crowdsourcing and psychology to develop better tools and user interfaces for everyday people.

Jan-Emmanuel De Neve: Tax Incentives

Jan-Emmanuel De Neve

Jan-Emmanuel De Neve ’s work in economics shows that there is a wide scope for social progress, particularly when measured not only by the productive capacity of a society but also by integrating metrics of human well-being. This includes examining the causes and effects of well-being, including the genetic component; and practical ways of integrating well-being into our daily lives and policy-making. His research has been featured by The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian and BBC World, among others. De Neve’s work reveals a clear connection between individual happiness, productivity, and later earnings that implies the real potential for countries that are struggling to boost economic growth.

Fiery Cushman: Studying Harm

Fiery Cushman

Fiery Cushman studies the human capacity for moral judgment and behavior. His research spans cognitive, neural, developmental and evolutionary approaches to this topic. It also serves as a platform to address more basic questions about the psychological mechanisms that make Homo sapiens stand apart dramatically from the other 8.5 million species on earth.

Esther Wang: Measure Impact

Esther Wang

Esther Wang co-founded IDinsight, an organization that gives managers the tools to generate and use social impact data. IDinsight works with governments, NGOs and foundations in many areas – including health, water, finance, education, governance and agriculture – and makes rigorous impact measurement techniques practical for program decisions.

Emily Jacobi: Digitizing Democracy

Emily Jacobi

Emily Jacobi is the founder of Digital Democracy (Dd), which empowers marginalized communities to use technology to defend their rights. Bridging the gap between local groups and top-notch technologists, Dd works with local partners to design both hardware and software solutions. Current projects include indigenous territory mapping in Mexico and designing an early warning system to alert environmental monitors of illegal logging in the Amazon. Through the Remote Access mobile toolkit, Dd is working to make it easier for users in remote locations to document, manage and share environmental and human rights abuses.

Raspberry Pi: The Tech Teacher's New Textbook

Eben Upton

Eben Upton is a founder and trustee of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and serves as its Executive Director.

Computer technology teachers have a new teaching tool that has given students the foundation for a mass of invention and innovation.

The Raspberry Pi — a circuit board the size of a credit card — has served as the starting point for computer science students to build an astonishing number of complex devices, learning the basics of programming in the process. And the cost for this incredibly small tech tool? Around $35USD. 

The small and economical computer was first developed by faculty members at the University of Cambridge in Britain who had noticed their incoming computer science students were ill-prepared for a high-tech education. They decided to build an inexpensive device that students could learn from.

The Raspberry Pi is an ultra-low cost, credit card-sized computer designed to fill a much-needed technological gap in communities that cannot afford more traditional computing hardware and to provide children around the world the opportunity to learn programming.

Learn more at www.raspberrypi.org

Duygu Kuzum: Brain Computing

Duygu Kuzum

Duygu Kuzum develops nanoelectronic synaptic devices which emulate synaptic computation in the human brain, then works to interface these synapses with biological neurons. Such nanoscale synaptic devices have the potential to lead to interactive brain-inspired computer systems that can learn and process information in real time, bridging the gap between the human brain and digital computers. Kuzum’s work has been featured in Nanotechnology and Nature, among others. This type of hybrid neurological circuit may eventually enable neural prosthetic devices for clinical treatments of neurological disorders such as epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease.

Donnel Baird: Energy Financing

Donnel Baird: Bloc Power

Donnel Baird works to create jobs and reduce energy costs for underserved communities. Through his organization BlocPower, Donnel helps churches and community organizations to use their collective power to bargain for discounts on energy-efficient products ranging from insulation to solar panels, which are then installed for lower electricity bills.

A nonprofit arm of BlocPower trains community members to do the construction work for living wages. For Donnel, working with underserved communities in the Bronx and Washington, D.C. offers him an opportunity to bring a sense of community empowerment to communities where such resources are much needed. www.blocpower.org

Christina Agapakis: Toe Cheese

Christina Agapakis

Christina Agapakis is a biologist who studies the relationships between humans and bacteria at many scales and through multiple disciplines. Using synthetic biology, genomics, and art, Agapakis explores the evolution and design of microbial communities in the soil, in our bodies and in cheese. Christina has been listed in Forbes Magazine 30 Under 30: Science and Healthcare and her work has been featured in the Journal of Biological Engineering and Nature Chemical Biology, among others. Her work shows us how art and design can have a valuable impact on the ways we engage with and practice science.

Carmel Majidi: Soft Robots

Carmel Majidi

Carmel Majidi studies the next generation of biologically-compatible robots, assistive medical devices and electronics. These “soft-matter technologies” include systems that are elastically deformable and adapt their functionality to the changing demands of their operator and environment. Majidi was a post-doctoral Fellow at both Princeton and Harvard University and has been published in International Journal of Robotics Research, Soft Robotics, and Lab on a Chip, among others. Majidi addresses the emerging challenges of soft robotics through a unique combination of rapid prototyping, soft-lithography microfabrication and theoretical insights from solid mechanics.