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September 08, 2010 - Image 16

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2010-09-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

2J TheStaemet / .Wdneday Spteber8, 01

I Wedesda, Setembr 8,-010 / ThS Staemen

Magazine Editor:
Trevor Calero
Editorin Chief:
Jacob Smilovitz
Managing Editor:
Matt Aaronson
Jenna Skoller
Sara Boboltz
Corey DeFever
Photo Editor:
Jed Moch
Copy Editors:
Erin Flannery
Danqing Tang
The Statement is The Michigan Daily's
news magazine, distributed every
Wednesday during the
academic year. To contact The State-
met e-mail calero@michigandaily.com

editor's note

T our readers,
In compiling this week's issue, Statement editors, with the help of Daily
Staff Reporter Bethany Biron, scoured the University community for
names, ideas and concepts from University professors, unit deans, student leaders
and Ann Arbor residents alike. Though we had at first anticipated receiving a few
dozen ideas, we eventually ended up with just under 100 submissions.
In choosing the twelve ideas we would profile for this issue, we soon came to
realize just how hard a task we had. And though our final list may not necessarily
be the twelve best, it does begin to uncover just what amazing work is being done at

this university, work that often times goes unnocited by the average student.
Some of the ideas we weren't able to include: A device that recycles personal
items to create new household products; an artificla foot that conserves energy,
making it easier for amputees to walk; a protein cell that could potentially switch
off cancer cells and technology that helps prevent automobile crashes.
We hope that, in reading this issue, you'll begin to understand just what innova-
tive, world-changing work is being done at this University.
Trevor Calero, Magazine Editor

Creative thinking was the weapon
of choice for Ross graduate Cynthia
Koenig, who transformed an already
existing concept into an innovative
business and humanitarian effort.
The concept of "rolling water" in
the world's rural regions has been
around for about 15 years as a meth-
od of transporting water from far-
away sources, Koenig said. It greatly
alleviates the strain of traditional
water collection - think balancing
heavy pails of water on your head -
by rolling the water across terrains
for more efficient water retrieval.
Two tools for rolling water have
been introduced in South Africa,
but these products only yielded lim-
ited success as it was impossible for
many rural residents to afford them.
Koenig embarked on a bold ven-
ture to make this concept of water
transportation more accessible to
rural residents. Wello, the non-
profit company that she founded in
January 2008, focuses primarily on
the much-overlooked issue of water
accessibility in rural areas around
the globe.
Koenig materialized her vision in
the form of a WaterWheel, a dura-
ble plastic container that is pushed
much like a lawnmower and capable
of transporting 20 gallons of water
in one trip. Traditional water gath-
ering methods only allowed about
five gallons of water to be carried
at once. To put this into perspec-
tive, the United Nations Develop-
ment Programme determined that
humans require a minimum of five
gallons of water per day to maintain
reasonable health and hygiene. The
WaterWheel makes this possible for
a family of four.

Through Wello, Koenig was
able the address the limitations of
both water accessibility and water
retrieval by manufacturing the
WaterWheel locally. Koenig said
her idea involves bringing the fac-
tory right into the rural community
via onsite mobile manufacturing.
The elimination of shipping costs
will make her product more readily
available to rural residents.
Koenig envisions that residents
can use the WaterWheel not only for
personal use, but to transport water
and goods to sell in their own com-
munities. Koenig adds that on-site
manufacturing of the product will
also create more jobs for residents.
Koenig has only recently returned
from field testing the product in Raj-
asthan, India, looking at potential
markets and usability of her prod-
uct. Koenig adds that she has also
developed partnerships with Indian
organizations like Barefoot College
and Seva Mandir to aid her venture.
In an age of social networking, there
are numerous ways to satisfy a Face-
book or Twitter fix on the go. From
laptops, to cell phones, to iPads, it's
nearly impossible not to be con-
nected. And with the help of a team
of past and present University stu-
dents, social networking may soon
be extended to the automobile.
The team - comprised of Engi-
neering graduates Collin Hockey,
John Ciccone and Joe Phillips and
School of Information student
Sangmi Park - developed Caravan
Track, an in-car application that
allows multiple cars to connect and

share information while on the road.
Caravan Track can relay informa-
tion between cars, like current loca-
tion, speed and fuel level to make
planning within a group easier.
They created the program last
spring as part of a social network-
ing and transportation applica-
tion competition offered through
a University course called "Cloud
Computing in the Commute." The
contest, sponsored by Ford Research
and Advanced Engineering, chal-
lenged students to create the future
of in-car technology.
The program also serves as an
effort to decrease cell phone use
while driving, as it allows drivers
to communicate with one another
through prewritten messages that
are read aloud over other vehicles'
The idea for the application was
inspired from the team's personal
experiences with group travel.
"If you've ever been on a long-dis-
tance trip involving multiple cars,
you know that it's a pain to keep
things organized," Phillips said. "It
involves lots of phone calls and con-
fusion. I like to know what's going
on and to be able to communicate
rapidly, and this application puts
almost all the required communica-

tion and information in one place."
For winning the contest, the team
got a chance to test out their inven-
tion in a Ford Fiesta during a two-
week road trip from Ann Arbor to
San Mateo, Calif. where they dis-
played their invention at Maker
Faire-a science and technology-
based fair that celebrates student

A South African na-
tive carries a water
pail. Wello aims to
elimate this type of
transport by creat-
ing more accessible
mater sources. Photo
courtesy of Cynthia
Ciccone said he sees this program
as a step toward the future of auto-
mobile technology.
"I think we will eventually see
desktop-class computer applications -
in vehicles, like those created for
this class," Ciccone said. "Driving
will become a more social and inter-
active experience."


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