Imagine Cup 2008

 

Software Design Challenge Invitational
 

 Theme: Imagine A World Where Technology Enables a Sustainable Environment

 

1. Second Place:

 

·       Team members: James Thompson, Xharmagne Carandang, Anshula Mathur, and Philip Haines 

·       Mentor: Dr Dat Tran

·       Project title: eGREEN

·       Project summary:

 

As consumer goods travel through the supply chain – from production, to distribution, to consumption – there are various activities that have a negative effect on the environment. These activities include:

 

1) The production of the items – factory pollution (chemical and carbon emissions)

2) The transportation of the items – carbon emissions and chemical pollutants, water supply pollutants

3) The transportation of the consumer to the retail store – possible vehicle carbon emissions

4) The consumption of the item

5) Disposal of the items – how easy is it to breakdown, are there any chemicals emitted or toxins leaked

 

Current solutions to the pollution problem from these activities include the use of energy and water ratings, and monitoring CO2 emissions by factories and suppliers. However, these ratings do not consider the passive consumption of the item, which is how much chemicals and pollution was used to produce the item and transport it to the retail outlet where the item was purchased. Primary production, manufacturing, transport etc. all have a degree of environmental impact. This information would also be important for the consumer to make their decision, it is currently unavailable. Most of the existing rating systems target consumption, ignoring the rest of the supply chain.

 

The aim of this system is to give consumers information about the environmental impact of the products they buy. This will change consumer behaviour resulting in market forces making it economically essential for producers, distributors, and others in the supply chain to minimise the effect of their activities on the environment. Environmental impact information will be gathered and summarised using the eGreen rating system. The eGreen rating system will integrate products’ environmental impact information from all stages in the product life cycle.  Aside from this, the eGreen rating system will allow people to keep track of their individual environmental impact based on the eGreen ratings of the products they have already purchased.

 

Through the use of Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) tags, consumer goods will be tracked throughout the supply chain. Information regarding the production and distribution of items will be used to calculate an item’s “eGreen Rating”. This information is made available to consumers via a website and in-store scanners. It will provide a straightforward way of making people aware of the full extent of the environmental impact of the products they plan to purchase.

 

The system is designed to be used by different stakeholders all using the internet to access the eGreen web server to access the website and make use of web services.  Based on the client interaction with the web server, information is either added or retrieved from the database.  The stakeholders in the manufacturing and distribution roles would be to maintain a list of products and their associated information (disposal, waste, chemicals). The web server uses the Virtual Earth website to display custom maps and store information to consumers

 

2. Third Place:

 

·       Team members: Jack Cheng, Sen Li, and Ning Zhang

·       Mentor: Dr Dat Tran

·       Project title: iWater

·       Project summary:

 

The aim of this project is to provide a software application that helps people save water and enables a sustainable environment. Water is the most essential condition for the sustainable development of human society. As water is important to our life, we use it a lot in our daily showers, water the lawn or laze about in the pool and we may not realize that water availability is a life-or-death issue in many parts of the world. Australia’s water is a highly variable resource. Managing it sustainably and productively is one of the great challenges facing us as we move into the future.

How to help people manage their water use is the biggest issue of water saving. Most people want to save water and realise water saving is important, but they do not know how much water they have used, as water is always available when they turn the water tap. Smart water saving advice/practice will be needed for people to save water bills and save the world.

Our Intelligent Water Management software application allows people to view their water usage and help people customise it according to their needs. It effectively helps people in the national wide. Users register to our system and provide details about their home consumption, for example pool, front yard, backyard, and water tank. Depending on the level of privacy, users can provide more or less details. Our system then automatically generates a usage standard and visually displays usage data, instantly provide feedback and the best saving tips to customer. It can also predict the effect of environmental changes on people attitudes and behaviour.

Our system includes two applications which are client application using smart water meters for household customers and management application for companies to manage water, a Web service, and a water metering subsystem.

The client application uses a web-based solution to allow customers to view/estimate water usage hourly, daily, or weekly, depending on their registration. The client application uses Microsoft Virtual Earth to display area map and water data in both 2D and 3D formats. It collects water data from dams, catchments, districts and households to generate a complete set of information which can be provided to each household for planning water savings.

The management application provides the following services to experts: using Microsoft Virtual Earth for displaying Australia maps and allowing to zoom in/zoom out on a particular area, better user interface and easy to manage water resources, predicting and reporting for water resource management, predicting the effect of climate variability and change, tracing water supply and allocation, and provide nearest dam/river location for emergency bush fire use

The smart water metering subsystem employs smart water meters to read water usages from dwellings and provide water usages information to households in real time.

 

3. Fourth Place:

 

·       Team members: Dong Liang, Weiwei He, and Fan Gao

·       Mentor: Dr Dat Tran

·       Project title: Green Revolution

·       Project summary:

 

The purpose of this document is to provide a detailed description of our project, code-named GreenRevolution. The project has been designed and developed for Microsoft Imagine Cup 2008, based on the theme “Image a world where technology enables a sustainable environment”. GreenRevolution has been implemented to run on PDAs and Smart Phones with Microsoft Mobile Edition installed, it is aimed to cut CO2 emission by each commuter. This is achieved by providing commuters instructions on how to get to their destination using public transport quickly and accurately.

Besides, the functions of the application have also been implemented as web services. Therefore, they are available to anyone who is interested in using them. These web services have been used in our website, GreenRevolution.com.

We consider the current transport system in Beijing as a case study. As the Chinese economy is booming, standard of living of Chinese people has been increased dramatically, especially in big cities, such as the capital, Beijing. Consequently, more and more people can afford buying private cars. Although this gives people the convenience to get to work and go to different places, this has caused a lot of problems. For example, traffic jams and damage to the environment. Because the growing number of cars on the roads, the traffic jam is getting from bad to worse; because of CO2 emissions, the air quality in Beijing is one of the worst cities among all major cities in the world. Worsening situation in traffic jams means people have to stay longer in their cars to get to their destinations, which means more CO2 emissions and then more damage to the environment.

So how can technology enable a better public transport for all? It is not difficult to see that the most important initiative for commuters to use cars is the level of convenience it can bring. Therefore, what our system is aiming to achieve is that it can provide the same kind of convenience when commuters use our public transport system. We achieve this by providing commuters accurate information about how to get to the nearest bus stop of their destination, so that more and more people can start using the public transport. Commuters can access this information using their smart phones by either physically standing at a bus stop or entering the bus stop id if they know it.

 

 

4. Some links to the teams and projects

 

·        UC Monitor

·        Canberra Times

·        Canberra City News