Monday, January 23, 2012

Open source surgery

Not quite do-it-yourself surgery, but an open source surgical robot nonetheless. Ensuring that corporations don't own, limit and control the technologies used to save lives is extremely important. I'd love to see more of these open, transparent and shareable approaches to medicine:

"A multidisciplinary team of engineers from the University of Washington and the University of California, Santa Cruz, have developed a surgical robot, called Raven 2, for use as an open-source surgical robotics research platform. Seven units of the Raven 2 will be made available to researchers at Harvard; Johns Hopkins; University of Nebraska-Lincoln; University of California, Berkeley; and the University of California, Los Angeles, while the remaining two systems will remain at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the University of Washington.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Seriously solar-powered OLPCs in Haiti

Great video on a large solar installation that charges 500 XO laptops at a time. The installation was completed by a team from Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago, Green WiFi, and Haiti's National OLPC Coordinator and took place at EFACAP school in Lascahobas, Haiti.

"With the system having been designed and built to power 500 XO laptops it was - and very likely still is - the world's largest single-school solar laptop charging deployment."

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ali Carr-Chellman - A Closer Look at Cyber Charter Schools

A different angle on the charter schools coming to New Zealand. Ali Carr-Chellman looks at cyber charter schools in the US. 4 million students took part in cyber charter schools in the US in 2010, 250,000 of whom were full-time. She links cyber charter schools to the wild west and the goldrush, saying that, like in goldrushes in the past, people are making a lot of money out of cyber charter schools at the moment. Huge amounts of money are being diverted from public schools: US$1 billion in 2010. That includes paying private company CEOs annual salaries of up to US$2.6 million.

That's public money, remember.

Classroom-less schools in Sweden

I came across this from Stephen Downes. WARNING: images may make educators extremely envious:
The principles of the Vittra School revolve around the breakdown of physical and metaphorical class divisions as a fundamental step to promoting intellectual curiosity, self-confidence, and communally responsible behavior. Therefore, in Vittra’s custom-built Stockholm location, spaces are only loosely defined by permeable borders and large, abstract landmarks. As the architects explained, “instead of classical divisions with chairs and tables, a giant iceberg for example serves as cinema, platform, and room for relaxation, and sets the frame for many different types of learning,” while “flexible laboratories make it possible to work hands-on with themes and projects.”