The most rapid technological advances in the last 30 years have been in the areas of the computer and the internet.  Information technology can help us make Cleanleaps in many ways and we’ll track the most relevant developments here.

Measuring Moovement - wearables for cows

We’ve all seen those movies. Where the person under house arrest is strapped with an ankle bracelet. The one with a silent flashing red light that will set off an alarm the minute the prisoner steps outside a defined radius of movement. An agricultural innovation created by Fujitsu in Japan , is using ankle bracelets on dairy cows. Not so much to manage their moovement (pun intended) as to connect them to the Internet.

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Remotely Sensing Crop Nutrients

Not to be confused with remote viewing which finds its home in parapsychology, remote sensing involves collecting data about an object without having any physical contact with the object being observed. There are several types of remote sensing systems used in agriculture but the most common is a passive system that senses the electromagnetic energy reflected from plants. The sun is the most common source of energy for passive systems. 

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The Global Cleantech Innovation Index 2014

WWF International and Cleantech Group partnered to release the second report, in a biennial series, on where the likely leading entrepreneurs in clean technology will emerge from over the next 10 years. The report is a ranking of each countries inputs into innovation, such as investment by governments and the outputs of innovation such as the commercialization of new clean technology. The report uses interesting metrics to map out the growth cycle of a clean tech startup for each country.

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Building a real world Farmville

In many households around the world the words “don’t play with your food” quickly followed by “you know there are people out there who…” have been uttered in one form of another. But what if playing with your food could better feed the future? Research scientist Caleb Harper and a team of students at MIT are creating a real-life FarmVille - a food computer. FarmVille is a farming simulation social network game that allows players to plant and harvest crops. Based on these ideas, Caleb has found a way to import climates and make growing food both faster and more efficient.

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Can drivers’ behaviors change due to a mobile App?

It's 4pm, I am at Nyarutarama. I login to a smart phone app, put in a location and send a motorcycle request to the nearest motorcycle, 2 minutes later the moto guy arrives and calls to let me know that he is waiting for me, at the same time I receive a notification letting me know that he has reached my place. He drops me at Remera with a meter to calculate the number of kilometers run and I pay 300 Rwfs (US $ 0.39), it was really a nice experience. Welcome to the new time-efficient and convenient motorcycle booking and travel system in Rwanda—Safemotos!

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Unmanned Agriculture

An unidentified object hovers over Nairobi's Nyayo Stadium during 2014's Jamuhuri Day celebrations. In a country that has had it's fair share of terror attacks, this sighting is met not so much with wonder as anxiety. The Chief of the Kenya Defense Forces immediately sets out to find who is behind it. It turns out to be a Kenyan media house capturing some aerial shots of the proceedings in advance of the President's arrival. Orders follow that the device be landed immediately. It is brought safely to the ground. What was the cause for all the fuss? A drone. Referred to in other quarters as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAVs). A vehicle that could drive Kenyan agriculture into the future.

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Mobile Solar Kiosk: A low-cost franchise

Founded in January 2013, African Renewable Energy Distributor (ARED) seeks to provide stable and reliable energy solutions to rural and urban areas in Africa, employing innovative technologies on a micro and macro level. Henri Nyakarundi is founder and managing director of ARED, a Rwandan-based and award-winning renewable energy company specializing in the development of mobile solar kiosks. 

 

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BRCK - The Magic Box - A cleanleap device Made for Africa

There is some oddness, a sense of remoteness that comes up when technology and Africa are used in the same sentence. It is like thinking of a rainforest at the heart of the Sahara or Kalahari Desert. However, at the heart of Nairobi, Kenya, a team of software developers, engineers, and technologists are rewriting the story of Africa from remoteness and oddness to possibilities. BRCK is a device seeking to solve problems of electricity, internet connections, problems that are eminent in both rural and urban areas in Africa. 

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Could the mobile phone become a farmer's most important tool?

One evening, as Calvince Okello -the creator of M-shamba - was watching the news at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology where he studied biomechanical and processing engineering, a particular feature left him at his wits end. The Eastern part of Kenya was suffering from severe famine while the Western part had registered a bumper harvest with maize even rotting on farms. This stark contrast of pockets plenty amidst areas of serious lack was enough to push Calvince to think of a solution. He attended a lecture the following day that would set M-shamba in motion. 

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