Lennon P.,PATH |
Atuhaire B.,PATH |
Yavari S.,Nexleaf Analytics |
Sampath V.,VillageReach |
And 3 more authors.
Vaccine | Year: 2017
Vaccine cold chain equipment (CCE) in developing countries is often exposed to harsh environmental conditions, such as extreme temperatures and humidity, and is subject to many additional challenges, including intermittent power supply, insufficient maintenance capacity, and a scarcity of replacement parts. Together, these challenges lead to high failure rates for refrigerators, potentially damaging vaccines and adversely affecting immunization coverage. Providing a sustainable solution for improving CCE performance requires an understanding of the root causes of failure. Project teams conducted small-scale studies to determine the root causes of CCE failure in selected locations in Uganda and Mozambique. The evaluations covered 59 failed refrigerators and freezers in Uganda and 27 refrigerators in Mozambique. In Uganda, the vast majority of failures were due to a cooling unit fault in one widely used refrigerator model. In Mozambique, 11 of the 27 problems were attributable to solar refrigerators with batteries that were unable to hold a charge, and another eight problems were associated with a need to adjust thermostat settings. The studies showed that tracking and evaluation of equipment performance and failure can yield important, actionable information for a range of stakeholders, including local CCE technicians, the ministry of health, equipment manufacturers, and international partners such as the United Nations Children's Fund, World Health Organization, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Collaborative efforts to systematically collect and communicate data on CCE performance and causes of failure will help to improve the efficiency and reach of immunization programs in low- and middle-income countries. © 2016 The Author(s)
News Article | February 21, 2017
Vaccines are credited with saving millions of lives each year, but one in five children still do not receive the basic immunizations needed to stay healthy. Seventy percent of unvaccinated children are concentrated within 10 developing countries that have large populations and weak immunization systems, according to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. With the theme of “providing peace of mind” to healthcare workers across the globe, nonprofit Nexleaf Analytics is on a mission to develop innovative products that safeguard vaccines and other medical supplies in challenging environments. Nexleaf is fulfilling this mission through the development of ColdTrace—a wireless remote temperature monitoring (RTM) system that was specifically designed for vaccine refrigerators operating in rural health clinics in developing countries. ColdTrace has already been implemented in more than 7,000 health facilities around the globe, but a new partnership with Google.org and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, will expand the reach of the technology even further. Google.org will contribute $2 million, which will be matched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to enable officials in developing countries to make evidence-based decisions on the purchase and maintenance of vaccine refrigerators via Coldtrace’s data dashboard. “Nexleaf’s use of innovative, low-cost sensor technology to support data-driven decision making is the kind of cutting edge work we need to address big global challenges like vaccine delivery,” said Jacquelline Fuller, director of Google.org, in a statement. “This new partnership will drive more impact at scale, helping to ensure safe vaccines for everyone.” Vaccines need to be stored between 2°C and 8°C. If they reach temperatures outside the safe zone, their potency cannot be restored, rendering them ineffective. According to a 2014 report by the World Health Organization and UNICEF, just two percent of health facilities in low- and middle-income countries have functional cold chain equipment with optimal technology. “Without a radical shift in the way immunization supply chain systems are designed, managed, resourced and supported, they will remain an obstacle towards reaching every child, and improving vaccination coverage and equity goals in countries,” said WHO and UNICEF in a joint statement. ColdTrace 5, the current generation device, can operate up to five temperature sensor probes. The device tracks a vaccine refrigerator’s temperature, as well as the clinic’s power availability in real-time. The data is continuously sent to a secure dashboard, which will send mobile text notifications directly to a designated healthcare worker if vaccines reach a danger zone or if the power goes out. “These text messages, even off hours, lead to actions that preserve vaccine safety,” Nexleaf’s Erin Ross told Laboratory Equipment. Prior to the implementation of ColdTrace, most health facilities in developing nations relied on stem thermometers or 30-day temperate loggers, which sit in vaccine refrigerators and use a light sensor to show when vaccines are in the temperature danger zone. But they cannot collect or analyze any data, and when the clinic is closed, there is no way for workers to know if something has gone wrong. ColdTrace provides information on preventative measures, trends, refrigerator make/model performance and power availability history through its secure data dashboard. As Ross explained to Laboratory Equipment, the ministry of health’s planning committee in a specific country can view data from an individual vaccine refrigerator that has reoccurring issues and determine the cause of those issues. For example, if the data dashboard shows that the clinic where the refrigerator is housed is getting less than eight hours of grid power per day, the committee can allocate funds to obtain a solar refrigerator for that clinic and prevent any further issues. These informed decisions eliminate the guesswork and ensure allocated funds are being used in the most efficient manner. The Nexleaf team, led by a trio of co-founders, created the original ColdTrace model in 2012. The following year, Nexleaf was recognized as the first place winner of Vodafone Americas Foundation’s Wireless Innovation Project (WIP). The $300,000 grant helped the company partner with large vaccine delivery organizations like Gavi, expand into international markets, and iterate on the technology in rural clinics and health facilities. Expansion from the grant ultimately led to the most recent partnership with Google.org as well. “That’s the way our technology works—through partnerships with people and organizations in the field,” said Ross. Nexleaf is now looking to apply the technology of ColdTrace to different sectors—such as blood samples and other non-vaccination, temperature-sensitive medical supplies, as well as the agricultural field. The company’s focus on agriculture would target small-holder farmers in the developing world to keep crops at the correct temperatures and limit post-harvest food loss.
News Article | November 5, 2016
Billions of people around the world still cook inside over open fires. They burn dung, wood and charcoal to fuel the flames, clouding their homes with toxic fumes. For activists and entrepreneurs, this has seemed like an easy fix: Design a cleaner cookstove, get it in the hands of the people who need them, and harmful emissions of "black carbon," or soot, that damages people's lungs and contributes to climate change will decline. In recent years, millions of impoverished families have received clean cookstoves via public and private initiatives. Yet black carbon is still a major health problem, in part because families can't afford to fix the clean cookstoves when they break. SEE ALSO: 2 billion children are breathing toxic air, UNICEF reports Now a team of scientists in California might have found a way to crack the cookstove code. Using wireless data technology and cell phone networks, the group designed a system that enables women in rural India to use and repair cleaner stoves and be compensated for doing so. They published the results of their two-year pilot project in the Oct. 31 online edition of Nature Climate Change. "We're looking to empower women to not only be able to afford the stoves, but afford to keep the stoves running," said Nithya Ramanathan, a senior researcher for Project Surya, which led the initiative. The team is planning to grow the project from 4,000 homes in rural India to a million households within the same region. At that scale, "a literal cloud of air pollution would disappear," Ramanathan told Mashable. Black carbon is made of tiny particles that come from burning solid biomass such as dung and wood. When regularly inhaled, it can cause lung cancer, heart disease and other illnesses. The World Health Organization estimates around 4.3 million people die prematurely each year from illnesses linked to household air pollution. Public health experts who weren't involved with the experiment said they were excited by the initial field results and the potential to use wireless technologies to spur greater use of clean cookstoves. "It is time the rural development world fully embraced modern IT techniques such as these," Kirk Smith, a professor of rural environmental health at University of California, Berkeley, said by email from India. Because not all cookstove designs are created equal, Project Surya limited its pilot project to a certain type of "forced-draft" stove. The $70 model still burns cheap biomass, but it uses fans to lower fuel use, shorten cooking times and limit harmful smoke. Hillary Clinton, left, listens as Radha Muthiah, executive director of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, speaks at a New York summit. Clinton launched the public-private initiative in 2010 as U.S. secretary of state. Starting in May 2014, the team worked with 4,038 households in the eastern Indian state of Odisha. Nexleaf Analytics, Ramanathan's non-profit tech company, developed a wireless sensing system to monitor the families' use of the cookstoves. About 450 homes had the wireless sensors, while the remaining households manually logged their usage. The team found that one hour of cooking on the clean stove reduced air pollution by about 0.003 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. Women could earn $6 for each avoided ton, or about $32 a year if they used the stove for five hours every day. That's a sizable chunk of change for families who typically earn just $2 a day. But it wasn't enough to push women to go out, buy extra fuel and run their stoves longer than needed to rack up extra credits, Ramanathan said. An Indian woman weighs wood to sell as fuel, mainly to be used for cooking, at a shop in Gauhati, India, June 9, 2016. Within the first six months, about half of the stoves broke down, and only half of the duds were repaired. Women in isolated villages also had trouble collecting their cash payments. Through trial and error, Project Surya found the best way to pay women was to send credits via cell phones through M-Pesa, a money transfer service similar to PayPal. Local agents cashed out the credits at banks in town and then traveled to villages to hand women the cash. Researchers are now working to build local repair networks, said Tara Ramanathan, Nithya's sister and a program director at Nexleaf. Their father, Veerabhadran Ramanathan, heads Project Surya and is a prominent climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego. Women in Project Surya's pilot project earned about $70,000 in total carbon credits. With a million participants, payments would likely total about $100 million a year. The funding could come from governments and financial institutions in developed countries, which have pledged to invest $100 billion a year to finance climate change projects in developing economies, Nithya Ramathan said. An Iraqi woman bakes bread using a mud stove in Baghdad in 2006. But public health experts said Project Surya's initiative has several kinks to iron out if it's going to scale to millions of households. Smith, the Berkeley professor, said the team should also attach wireless sensors to the conventional, polluting stoves. In his own research in northern India, Smith found that families continued to use their traditional stoves even with a cleaner model in the house — a process known as "stacking" that undermines the health benefits of new, cleaner stoves. Rema Hanna, a Harvard University economist who led an extensive field study on clean cookstoves in 2012, said that while she applauded Project Surya's work, further research is needed to see if this model can actually curb indoor air pollution or financially motivate families at a larger scale. "Before we start scaling up financial incentives, I would encourage even more testing of this model in other settings," she told Mashable. Hanna said that in general she believes researchers should postpone initiatives to deliver clean cookstoves to rural communities, given how many stoves end up broken or unused. "Researchers should focus on both improving stoves and testing other potential solutions before we spend lots of money and resources doing large-scale stove interventions," she said.
Ramanathan N.,University of California at Los Angeles |
Lukac M.,Nexleaf Analytics |
Ahmed T.,University of California at San Diego |
Kar A.,Tata Energy Research Institute |
And 7 more authors.
Atmospheric Environment | Year: 2011
Black carbon aerosols are a major component of soot and are also a major contributor to global and regional climate change. Reliable and cost-effective systems to measure near-surface black carbon (BC) mass concentrations (hereafter denoted as [BC]) globally are necessary to validate air pollution and climate models and to evaluate the effectiveness of BC mitigation actions. Toward this goal we describe a new wireless, low-cost, ultra low-power, BC cellphone based monitoring system (BC_CBM). BC_CBM integrates a Miniaturized Aerosol filter Sampler (MAS) with a cellphone for filter image collection, transmission and image analysis for determining [BC] in real time. The BC aerosols in the air accumulate on the MAS quartz filter, resulting in a coloration of the filter. A photograph of the filter is captured by the cellphone camera and transmitted by the cellphone to the analytics component of BC_CBM. The analytics component compares the image with a calibrated reference scale (also included in the photograph) to estimate [BC]. We demonstrate with field data collected from vastly differing environments, ranging from southern California to rural regions in the Indo-Gangetic plains of Northern India, that the total BC deposited on the filter is directly and uniquely related to the reflectance of the filter in the red wavelength, irrespective of its source or how the particles were deposited. [BC] varied from 0.1 to 1μgm-3 in Southern California and from 10 to 200μgm-3 in rural India in our field studies. In spite of the 3 orders of magnitude variation in [BC], the BC_CBM system was able to determine the [BC] well within the experimental error of two independent reference instruments for both indoor air and outdoor ambient air.Accurate, global-scale measurements of [BC] in urban and remote rural locations, enabled by the wireless, low-cost, ultra low-power operation of BC_CBM, will make it possible to better capture the large spatial and temporal variations in [BC], informing climate science, health, and policy. © 2011.
PubMed | University of California at Los Angeles, Nexleaf Analytics, Metropolitan State University of Denver and Regis University
Type: | Journal: PeerJ | Year: 2015
Azorella compacta (llareta; Apiaceae) forms dense, woody, cushions and characterizes the high elevation rocky slopes of the central Andean Altiplano. Field studies of an elevational gradient of A. compacta within Lauca National Park in northern Chile found a reverse J-shape distribution of size classes of individuals with abundant small plants at all elevations. A new elevational limit for A. compacta was established at 5,250 m. A series of cushions marked 14 years earlier showed either slight shrinkage or small degrees of growth up to 2.2 cm yr(-1). Despite their irregularity in growth, cushions of A. compacta show a strong orientation, centered on a north-facing aspect and angle of about 20 from horizontal. This exposure to maximize solar irradiance closely matches previous observations of a population favoring north-facing slopes at a similar angle. Populations of A. compacta appear to be stable, or even expanding, with young plants abundant.
PubMed | Central Washington University, University of Wisconsin - Madison and Nexleaf Analytics
Type: | Journal: The Science of the total environment | Year: 2016
A fast and cost effective application of color sensing was used to quantify color coordinates of atmospheric particulate matter collected on filters to quantify elemental and organic carbon (EC/OC) loading. This is a unique and novel approach for estimating OC composition. The method used a colorimeter and digital photography to obtain XYZ color space values and mathematically transformed them to HSV cylindrical-coordinates; a quantification method was applied to estimate the NIOSH and IMPROVE (TOR) EC/OC loadings from a set of globally diverse PM samples. When applied to 315 samples collected at three US EPA Chemical Speciation Network (CSN) sampling sites, the HSV model proved to be a robust method for EC measurement with an R(2)=0.917 for predicted versus measured loading results and a CV(RMSE)=16.1%. The OC quantified from the same sample filters had an R(2)=0.671 and a CV(RMSE)=24.8% between the predicted and measured results. The method was applied to NIOSH EC/OC results from a set of samples from rural China, Bagdad, and the San Joaquin Valley, CA, and the EC and OC CV(RMSE) were 30.8% and 49.3%, respectively. Additionally, the method was applied to samples with color quantified by a digital photographic image (DPI) with EC results showing good agreement with a CV(RMSE) of 22.6%. OC concentrations were not captured as accurately with the DPI method, with a CV(RMSE) of 77.5%. The methods low analytical cost makes it a valuable tool for estimating EC/OC exposure in developing regions and for large scale monitoring campaigns.
PubMed | Tata Energy Research Institute, University of British Columbia, University of California at San Diego, Nexleaf Analytics and Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Environmental science & technology | Year: 2015
Deployment of improved biomass burning cookstoves is recognized as a black carbon (BC) mitigation measure that has the potential to achieve health benefits and climate cobenefits. Yet, few field based studies document BC concentration reductions (and resulting human exposure) resulting from improved stove usage. In this paper, data are presented from 277 real-world cooking sessions collected during two field studies to document the impacts on indoor BC concentrations inside village kitchens as a result of switching from traditional stoves to improved forced draft (FD) stoves. Data collection utilized new low-cost cellphone methods to monitor BC, cooking duration, and fuel consumption. A cross sectional study recorded a reduction of 36% in BC during cooking sessions. An independent paired sample study demonstrated a statistically significant reduction of 40% in 24 h BC concentrations when traditional stoves were replaced with FD stoves. Reductions observed in these field studies differ from emission factor reductions (up to 99%) observed under controlled conditions in laboratory studies. Other nonstove sources (e.g., kerosene lamps, ambient concentrations) likely offset the reductions. Health exposure studies should utilize reductions determined by field measurements inside village kitchens, in conjunction with laboratory data, to assess the health impacts of new cooking technologies.
News Article | February 4, 2016
It’s that time of year again. With the passing of January into February the 9th Annual Crunchies are almost upon us. Next week, on February 8, some of the best minds of our generation will descend bedecked, bedazzled, and (some of them at least) bespectacled on San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House for one of San Francisco’s biggest bashes to celebrate the tech community’s achievements. Winners will receive one of the much coveted, never duplicated, Crunchies in 12 categories, and today we’ll be taking a look at the finalists for perhaps my personal favorite category — Biggest Social Impact of 2015. This award goes to the organization that has made the most impact on society at large during the year. Nominees range from a technology-focused nonprofit accelerator program, an initiative teaching and promoting coding across the U.S. and a group dedicated to applying technology to ending child sexual exploitation to the impact investment arm of the world’s most valuable company. So without further ado (but with much ballyhoo) here are the nominees for the organization that had the greatest social impact. Code.org is the nonprofit founded by the serial entrepreneur and investor Hadi Partovi back in 2013. The organization is dedicated to increasing access to computer science with a special focus on elevating the participation by women and underrepresented students of color in computing. Partovi and his fellow travelers share a vision that every student in every school should be able to learn computer science. For years, the Google.org team has been on the vanguard of the technology community’s efforts to make the world a better place. Each year, the folks at Google.org donate $100,000,000 in grants, 80,000 man hours and $1 billion in products to groups engaged in everything from stamping out human trafficking, to helping refugees, to increasing access to computer science education, and eradicating ebola. Operating to do good at startup speed, Fast Forward is an accelerator, fellowship program and clearing house for information on how to fund, create and manage a technology-focused nonprofit. Companies that have come out of the accelerator program include an on-demand food donation service (Copia); Nexleaf Analytics, which leverages smartphones, cell phones and ubiquitous sensors to make data collection easier in emerging markets; a college sexual assault reporting tool called Callisto; and Stellar, which aims to use the blockchain to make money transfer as easy as emailing. Freada Kapor Klein and Mitch Kapor are inarguably two of the most successful early-stage investors in Silicon Valley. Their successes are legendary and the work they’re doing now with the Kapor Center for Social Impact could be just as impressive. Boasting a team that includes former NAACP chairman and chief executive Ben Jealous, the Kapor Center is working to improve educational access to technology and computer science, increase the diversity of the tech community, and foster and create technologies with a profound social impact. In a case of the stars aligning against the profound, persistent problem of the global exploitation of children, Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore founded Thorn to use technology to combat an issue that technology has actually made worse. According to the organization, the Internet is, itself, the largest marketplace for buying and selling children in the U.S. Thorn marshals the resources of the tech community through partnerships with some of the largest tech companies to rid the Internet, and the country, of child exploitation. First introduced at the 5th Annual Crunchies in 2012, whoever wins the Biggest Social Impact award will be filling some pretty big shoes worn by some storied companies and amazing individuals. For its role in revolutions from Cairo to Kiev and social movements like #BlackLivesMatter, Twitter has long been a force for social change. Though it may be on the ropes now, the messaging service has occupied a seat at history’s table, often playing the role of first witness to events that have gone on to shake and shape the world. If Twitter is a technological counterpart to Ernest Hemingway’s rough draft of history — pithy, short, direct (give me a minute… it’ll make sense) — then Reddit (another winner) is its James Joyce-style stream of consciousness. The true wisdom (or folly) of the crowd is on full display every day in Reddit’s community of users posting about the flotsam, jetsam and icebergs that shape the 24-hour Internet news (or hype) cycle. The Snowden Revelations – The Heart Of The Privacy Debate For better or for worse, Edward Snowden has become the face of the global debate over civil liberties and security. Through a series of blockbuster revelations taken from government files he harvested from top secret servers for years, Snowden showed just how deeply the global security apparatus of governments had penetrated our private lives. His efforts changed policy, threw a spotlight on practices that the men pulling the levers of power would have rather kept in the shadows, and showed just how exposed we all are to the prying eyes of the state. It’s a lofty group of compatriots that the newest Crunchie winner will join. The next person to get a seat at this illustrious table will be announced at the 9th Annual Crunchies on February 8, and you’re definitely going to want to be there in person. Tickets to the show are still available starting at $115, but hurry because prices will increase at midnight PT tonight for the event that’s best described as the Oscars of Startups and Technology on our ticketing page. And take note: In past years there have been long lines to get into the Crunchies. We’re fixing that by opening the doors earlier and adding lots more ticket scanners. It is also easier than ever to get a drink with an enormous bar on the lower level next to Best of Startup Alley! Our sponsors help make the Crunchies happen. If you are interested in learning more about sponsorship opportunities, please contact our sponsorship team at email@example.com.
Nexleaf Analytics | Date: 2015-03-16
Environmental monitoring systems comprised of monitors, meters, and sensors that measure, track and report environmental conditions; sensors for the determination of positions and distances; temperature sensors. Providing electronic data transmission in the field of environmental and temperature monitoring. Training in the field of environmental issues and equipment for monitoring temperature and other environmental conditions. Providing on-line non-downloadable software that enables users to measure, track and report environmental and temperature conditions.
Nexleaf Analytics | Date: 2013-03-15
An apparatus for encoding a stove usage time includes a circuit, a temperature switch, an input device, and an output device. The circuit includes a processor and an internal timer. The temperature switch is communicatively linked to the circuit. The input device is electrically connected to the circuit and transmits a status request to the processor in response to receiving a user input. The internal timer increments an accumulated time of the internal timer by a usage time. The usage time is based on a duration the temperature switch detects temperatures higher than the minimum threshold. The processor accesses the incremented accumulated time of the internal timer and stores the accumulated time in a memory. The processor reads the incremented accumulated time from the memory, encodes the incremented accumulated time into an encoded value, and causes the output device to produce the encoded value in response to the status request.