Designing for Impact with the Internet of Things | Taylor Sharpe

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Designing for Impact with the Internet of Things

How can new kinds of connected sensors help improve environmental conditions for farmers in developing regions? Taylor Sharpe of SweetSense has a few ideas.


Sensors and other Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are driving rapid change in industry—and also creating new possibilities for designers who focus on social impact. Taylor Sharpe of SweetSense shares his experiences creating low-cost sensors connected by cell and satellite networks to improve living conditions for subsistence farmers in developing regions. One sensor reported on whether new water pumps were still functioning, since NGOs had found that as many as 50% of their pumps were unusable at any given time due to breakage. Another sensor detected particulate matter, since air quality is a significant health risk for those who cook over open fires.

About the speaker

Taylor Sharpe is a project engineer at SweetSense, where he focuses on rapid prototype techniques that allow products to move from concept to field faster. Previously he worked at Autodesk’s Pier 9. He holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Portland State University.

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