Many science students at UC Berkeley view science as a tool that allows them to advance the frontiers of human knowledge and have a positive impact on society. For many students, the gap between their work and its real impact on society makes it difficult to believe that their work is relevant, leading to a loss of motivation and ultimately to high attrition of these talented individuals from science-related degrees and careers. This attrition and disconnection is at odds with an increasing need for access to scientific knowledge and research in many communities. Science and technology are fundamental to problem solving, and access to science and research often dictates who has a voice in policy and societal decision-making processes. This big idea is to translate community research questions into projects that undergraduate and graduates can carry out. By facilitating and fostering the relationship between community non-profits or small businesses and students’ research in the Bay Area, which has a distinctive landscape of non-profit organizations in diverse fields, business startups and progressive local governments, Science Shop will spark distinct solutions for social and environmental problems.
The SmartMelonDrone project will use low-cost unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to help manage both the quantity and quality of melon produce. The platform, capable of