Archive for the 'Educational Institutions' Category

2012 International E-Waste Design competition Winners Announced

Thursday, December 6th, 2012 by

Winners have been announced in the International E-Waste Competition. The competition is part of the Sustainable Electronics Initiative (SEI) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

College students and recent graduates from around the world were encouraged to submit their ideas for products and services. The entries were ideas that prevent e-waste generation through life-cycle considerations (E-Waste Prevention Category) or that incorporate e-waste components into a new and useful item (E-Waste Reuse Category). The competition is designed to prompt dialogue about product designs for environmentally responsible computing and entertainment.

The winners were announced during a ceremony on December 4, 2012 at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC), the coordinating agency for Sustainable Electronics Initiative. ISTC is part of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois. The ceremony was simultaneously broadcast as a webinar to allow participation of as many students who entered and other interested parties as possible. That webinar will be archived on the ISTC web site at http://www.istc.illinois.edu/about/sustainability_seminars.cfm.

A total of 19 entries were submitted; 10 in the Reuse category and 9 in the Prevention category. Jurors awarded monetary prizes to the top three projects within each category, along with one honorable mention award. The first place winners will receive $3000, second place is $2000, and third place receives $1000. A total of $12,000 was awarded, which has been made possible through generous contributions by Peter Mcdonnell (Friend level) and Dell (Platinum level).

Reuse Category Winners

Platinum ($3000): digitizer. The digitizer is a revolutionary new product meant to revitalize film-based photography and bring it up to date in the digital era. It repurposes working film cameras by using a purpose built physical interface device coupled with proprietary software so that film based photographers can use their camera to capture digital images. The device includes an image sensor and image sensor card that will fit into the space normally occupied by the film and film canister within an analog camera. The hardware and software are upgradable and designed to adapt to most computer and camera formats. The purpose of the digitizer is to reduce future electronic waste of cameras while reusing materials that are electronic byproducts. It does this by reducing the number of film-based cameras that are replaced by digital cameras, upgrading and adapting to new technologies without discarding and replacing currently working devices, and reusing often discarded electronic waste in its manufacture. By manufacturing the digitizer from e-waste components, chemicals such as lead, beryllium, arsenic, and mercury will also be kept out of landfills. The digitizer serves a twofold purpose by meeting the needs of an unfulfilled market of photographers and reducing electronic waste caused by outdated cameras. This concept was submitted by a pair of industrial design students from the University of Wisconsin-Stout: J. Makai Catudio and Ryan Barnes.

Gold ($2000): The Wake-Up Project. The Wake Up Project is a highly marketable, easy to use, smart clock concept that tracks the users wake-up times using software on a reused internet router. The smart clock would also incorporate reused cell phone parts, as well as plastic recycled from e-waste. Using crossover cables connected to a built-in web interface, the user can set a time for the clock to sound every morning. There is an
option to set up an entire schedule with variable settings for each day of the week. The device can be used with Outlook or iCal and the clock program is downloaded from the Wake Up website. The clock has a simple design face with one button that can function as a snooze or to turn the clock off. The Wake Up Project is a realistic solution to the e-waste problem that can secondarily provide consumer education opportunities. The
Wake Up web site would have information about e-waste and how the consumer could play a role in solving the e-waste problem. The Wake Up Project team consists of three industrial design students from the University of Wisconsin-Stout: Danny Kopren, Sam Wellskopf, and Lennon TeRonde.

Silver ($1000): Fluorescence Microscopy Using A Recycled Paper Scanner. This idea proposes the conversion of a commercial flatbed scanner into a fluorescence microscopy instrument, which is widely used to characterize biological events in diagnostic and research laboratories. The optical design allows for the scanner sensor array to be exploited as an imaging sensor without making major modifications to the recycled device. The proposed modifications have been engineered to be inexpensive and simple, yet they bring a high payoff in terms of performance of the scanner as an imaging instrument. Fluorescence microscopy is a cost efficient way to study behaviors of specific cell populations, which can then determine the presence of diseases and the source of the cause of disease. Scanner modified fluorescence microscopy is an even more cost efficient, proliferating means for the study of cell population. This device is meant to eliminate wastes and save lives. This concept was submitted by a recent graduate in electrical engineering (Dustin Gallegos), and two current students, one in biomedical engineering (Lillian Hislop) and the other in general studies (ZhanHao Xi), at
the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Prevention Category Winners

Platinum ($3000): EverCloud. EverCloud is both a service and product. It is a framework which allows users to personalize their phone with features and styles specific to their taste. By investing the user in the design process, they become emotionally invested in the resulting product. An EverCloud phone is also unique in that it is actually a portal to a data server–information is not stored on the local device. EverCloud is,in essence, a “cloud” phone. All applications and information associated with the phone are stored server side. This keeps the processing requirements of the level of responsibility and care. Since the software resides server side, it is always kept up to date. If problems arise with the device, such as a broken component, it can be replaced with an identical part or even with a new style of part if the user wants to ook or the experience of interacting with the device. As a design solution, the EverCloud system would eliminate waste created by hyper replacement of cellular devices, increase user satisfaction, and begin to shift the paradigm of cellular connectivity towards a sustainable future. This team was comprised of five industrial design students from Auburn University: Sean Kennedy, Christi Talbert, Dylan Piper-Kaiser, Sarah Caudle, and Daniel Piquero.

Gold ($2000): E3: Energy Efficient Electricity. E3 is a home monitoring and manually controllable energy system. Owners of this device have the ability to lower their energy bill while simultaneously prolonging the life of their appliances and electronics. The lifespans of electronic devices are often shortened through overcharging and associated overheating. This is frequently the case with cell phones, for example. E3 would allow power to be turned off to a charger, eliminating overcharging and phantom energy use. Phantom energy is energy used by devices that are plugged in and drawing power even when the consumer is not using them. The E3 can be implemented in new buildings and retrofitted to older buildings. By installing a home meter and specialized outlets (made of recycled plastic and electronic components), the E3 can monitor home devices’ energy usage. By using a smart phone app, the owner may choose devices to disconnect when not in use to avoid phantom energy use, thus reducing CO2 emissions. The app can also determine the best times to use an appliance or device to avoid peak hours. Continued use of the E3 can reduce energy consumption and costs to consumers. The concept was developed by three industrial design students from California State University at Long Beach: John Lee, Soyoung Bae, and Sam Sauceda.

Silver ($1000): loopbook — the future of computing. The loopbook is designed to address the most  important issues in the production and use phase of electronic devices. It is a laptop specifically designed to combat electronic waste by increasing the lifecycle of the device. Where possible all parts contained in the loopbook are constructed from reused and recycled components which will also be reconstituted for future loopbooks. The use of glass, aluminum, and other modular components enable the loopbook to focus efforts on reuse and closing the electronic waste loop. The unique core computing module (CCM), which contains the processor, memory, and storage, is upgradeable and removable. Thus, data and preferences can be carried on to the next step of the computer lifecycle should the body of the loopbook need to be repaired or replaced. The loopbook can perform as both a notebook and tablet, allowing consumers to experience both methods of computing with one device. The loopbook aims to change user behavior by creating a unique and attractive proposition of ownership and support for a new computing future. Loopbook was submitted by a recent graduate in product design and technology from the University of Limerick in Ireland, Damian Coughlan.

Honorable Mention

Sounds Amass. SOUNDS AMASS is an audio amplifying device system designed for public sharing on a rental/lease program. It is specifically engineered to reuse second-hand components from the e-waste stream that can be easily replaced and removed. This makes it is easy to find alternative components and allows for lower overall maintenance costs. There are two versions of the device, Amass-Uno and Amass- Duo. Amass-Uno is blue and features smart phone docking and LED lighting. Amass-Duo is orange and equipped with a detachable megaphone, wireless microphone, and a loudspeaker system. Both models could serve as sound systems for small parties, street performances, small forums, protests, and social gatherings. The devices can be rented or leased from convenient stores and community halls. The consumer can check device availability via smart phone applications and the Internet. These devices are the easy and ecological answer to the social forum future. This concept was proposed by a recent graduate in industrial and product design from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Tai Ka Cheong.

About the Competition

The competition was started at UIUC in the fall of 2009. In 2010, the competition was expanded so students from all over the globe were able to submit their projects and an online video. Each project was judged on the project description and video. The international scope was evident through students who submitted entries from Bangladesh, Canada, Chile, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Turkey, and the United States. The jury was comprised of a variety of experts, including:

  • Jason Linnell, Executive Director, National Center of Electronics Recycling (NCER)
  • Bill Olson, Director, Office of Sustainability and Stewardship, Mobile Devices Business, Motorola, Inc.
  • Steven Samuels, Former Brand & Design Manager for ReCellular, Inc.
  • Kerstin Nelsen Strom, Ecodesign Section Chair, Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA)
  • Jennifer Wyatt, Environmental Scientist, Materials Management Branch, U.S. EPA Region 5

The videos of the winning entries will be shown on the websites of the e-waste competition at www.ewaste.illinois.edu, www.istc.illinois.edu, and www.sustainelectronics.illinois.edu, and on SEI’s YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/SEIatISTC?feature=watch.

Join Us for a Webinar on Sustainable Electronics Wednesday, Sept. 19

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012 by

Join us tomorrow, September 19 at noon Central time, when Dr. Callie Babbitt of the Rochester Institute of Technology presents “Adapting Ecological Models for Linking Sustainable Production and Consumption Dynamic in Consumer Electronic Product Systems.” Registration for the webinar is available at https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/541176247.

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Webinar–“Electronic Waste: Our Problem and What We Should Do About It”

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012 by

Join us for a webinar on Wednesday, September 5, 2012, 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM CDT. This seminar will be hosted live at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) in Champaign, IL, and simultaneously broadcast online. The presentation will be archived on the ISTC web site (see http://www.istc.illinois.edu/about/sustainability_seminars.cfm for more information and additional webinar archives).

Presenters include William Bullock, Affiliate with the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center and Professor of Industrial Design in the School of Art and Design, U of I at Urbana-Champaign; and Joy Scrogum, Emerging Technologies Resource Specialist at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, Prairie Research Institute, U of I at Urbana- Champaign.

See the Sustainable Electronics Initiative (SEI) Blog for further information and a link to the online registration form.

2012 International E-Waste Design Competition Announced

Friday, July 6th, 2012 by

e-waste competition logoThe Sustainable Electronics Initiative has announced the 2012 International E-Waste Design Competition. Registration is free and open to current and recent college and university students, from any discipline, throughout the world. Participants submit ideas on products or services that will either prevent the generation of e-waste by prolonging the useful life of electronic products, or that reuse e-waste components in a new product. Entries include, among other components, a brief YouTube video describing the proposed product or service. Registration opens September 1, 2012. For full details, see the announcement on the Sustainable Electronics Initiative Blog.

As part of its continuing partnership with the Sustainable Electronics Initiative, GLRPPR will be co-hosting a series of webinars focused on sustainable electronics research and issues in Fall 2012. Look for more information on the presenters here in the GLRPPR Blog in late August, and check the GLRPPR Calendar for the webinars, as scheduling is confirmed.

Students seek new uses for discarded laptop computers

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 by

Is a laptop computer useless without a hard drive? A group of University of Illinois students doesn’t think so and is exploring new uses for such discarded laptops.

Laptops used by government agencies and various industries typically have their hard drives removed or destroyed before being sent to recycling. This is done out of concern for data of a secretive, sensitive, or personal nature falling into the wrong hands.

With funding provided by Dell, the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) at the University of Illinois is supporting the project entitled “A New Life for Laptops.” The project is being done in conjunction with the Sustainable Electronics Initiative (SEI) at ISTC. Through this grant, SEI is challenging university researchers and students to envision untapped and underexplored uses for the valuable materials in laptops. The goal is to extend the useful life of these materials prior to recycling.

The project utilizes cross-disciplinary teams of students and research faculty from business, advertising, industrial design, and computer science engineering from the University of Illinois (UIUC) and scientists from ISTC, a division of the Prairie Research Institute.

The research effort is directed by William C. Bullock, Professor of Industrial Design. Others working with the project are Hong Yuan, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Business Administration; Brian Lilly, PhD, Adjunct Associate Professor, Engineering; and Cliff Shin, Associate Professor, Industrial Design. There also will be participation from ISTC research scientists. Graduate and undergraduate students from engineering, marketing, computer science, business, and industrial design will work together as project design team members. There currently are 15 Illinois students working on the project.

“We are focusing on the entrepreneurial use of such laptops,” said Bullock. “We are researching what venture capitalists are doing in this area and looking at the reuse of laptop components.”

The students also are examining the current business model for Dell concerning lifespan of computer components and their use.

“Dell has a recycling program, and it is a good one. What we are looking for is a new vision on how outdated laptops can be used,” said Bullock.

Students got started in the spring semester with the donation of 20 recycled Dell laptops. They were donated by Vintage Tech Recyclers in Romeoville, Illinois. Students will be taking these machines apart in order to experiment with new ideas. Any unused computer parts will be returned for recycling. Final class projects will be presented in May 2012 and results will be posted on the SEI website.

The laptop project will move from a general examination of business and design opportunities to a more detailed focus on one or more specific product opportunities. These will be based on lessons learned and knowledge gained as the research and development progresses. The project will proceed through the three distinct stages during the spring semester. They are:

  • Research – the initial project focus will be on efforts to understand the market and the Dell user needs.
  • Development – the second stage uses insights gained through research in order to create new designs and concepts and present them to Dell for feedback.
  • Finalization –this stage refines concepts addressing materials, technology, and product performance. The final recommendations will be an electronic presentation to Dell.

The students recently had a conference call with Dell officials to discuss the program. The Dell staff members working with the students are Mike Watson, Director of Compliance, and John Pflueger, Principal Environmental Strategist.

Waste from electronic devices is a growing problem around the world. These University of Illinois students hope to offer some possible alternatives to placing old laptops in a landfill.

Submit an environmental project for a team of University of Michigan graduate students to tackle

Monday, August 1st, 2011 by

An appeal from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment. It appears that they will accept projects from outside of Michigan.

Every year at the University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and Environment, approximately 20-25 interdisciplinary teams of master’s students tackle real world environmental projects with a professional client organization. If you have a potential project idea, we encourage you to consider submitting it.

WHAT IS A MASTER’S PROJECT?
Master’s projects are 12-15 month long (begin in March and most are typically completed by the following April) problem-solving experiences conducted by interdisciplinary teams of SNRE Master’s degree students as the capstone of their academic program at the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment. Projects provide students with a team experience that approximates a future work environment while also providing client organizations with solutions to complex environmental issues and useful products. Clients and faculty advisors provide feedback along the way.

WHY SUBMIT A PROJECT IDEA?
It’s a chance to get an interdisciplinary team of master’s students to tackle an environmental issue of importance to your organization while providing them with a real-world problem solving learning experience.

A FEW EXAMPLES OF RECENT PROJECTS:

  • Climate Change Adaptation in Great Lakes Cities
  • Building a Sustainable Community in Africa
  • Assisting a tribal community with business planning and forestland acquisition
  • Green Brewery project

See more project examples here:  http://snre.umich.edu/current_students/masters_projects/masters_archives

HOT MASTER’S PROJECT TOPICS:
This list was generated from looking at the last several years of master’s project topics that were selected by SNRE student teams.  We encourage you to submit project ideas that especially focus on these general topic areas but other topic ideas are certainly welcome.  Feel free to contact Lisa to discuss your project idea.Renewable energy (wind, solar, hydro, biofuels, geothermal)

  1. Ecosystem/ biodiversity conservation/ restoration
  2. Sustainable agriculture/ food
  3. Ecosystem services (ex: forests as carbon sinks, wetlands as water pollution filters, etc.)
  4. Freshwater (river/ lake) ecosystem conservation
  5. Sustainable urban communities
  6. Corporate sustainability
  7. Sustainable energy financing
  8. Great Lakes
  9. Sustainable transportation
  10. Projects assisting vulnerable populations/communities
  11. Influencing environmental behavior
  12. Climate change adaptation
  13. Creating sustainable design futures
  14. Life Cycle Analysis (LCA)
  15. Environmental policy
  16. Climate change mitigation
  17. Ecotourism

Some additional themes identified by students (in the recent student survey) include: international projects—especially in developing nations, sustainability in healthcare, and energy efficiency.

WHAT’S THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING STUDENTS WITH DIFFERENT DISCIPLINES ON THESE PROJECTS?
A Master’s project is an academic learning experience that encourages SNRE students to work in interdisciplinary teams.  For example, a policy student may work on a team with GIS mapping and sustainable system business students on a wind energy project assessing policy, geographic and economic feasibility issues.  We encourage projects to include at least 2-3 different fields of study to prepare our students for real-world project teams at NGOs, consulting firms, agencies, and companies addressing cutting edge environmental challenges.  Click here to see examples of master’s projects.  Be sure to see how different fields of study were incorporated into each project.

HOW TO SUBMIT A MASTER’S PROJECT IDEA:

Priority Deadline: November 1st (projects submitted by this date have a higher chance of being selected)
Final Deadline: December 13th

Questions? Contact Lisa Yee-Litzenberg, Email: yeeha@umich.edu or Ph: 734-615-1633

Environmental Education Toolkits

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011 by

Hennepin County Environmental Services has developed a series of environmental education toolkits targeting specific audiences. The toolkits include:

  • Critical facts and background information on current environmental issues
  • Low to no cost activity ideas that require minimal planning
  • Project ideas that encourage youth leadership and initiative
  • Service learning project ideas
  • Field trip recommendations
  • Interactive online and print resources for youth

Download each guide:

For more information about environmental education and pollution prevention in K-12 schools,  colleges, and universities, see GLRPPR’s Educational Institutions sector resource.

Deadline Extended for International E-Waste Design Competition

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011 by

International E-Waste Design Competition LogoThere’s still time to submit entries for the 2011 International E-Waste Design Competition. The deadline has been extended to 4:59 p.m. CT, May 9, 2011. College students and recent graduates from around the world submit ideas for reusing e-waste to create new and useful products, or for preventing its generation in the first place (e.g. by re-designing an existing electronic device to facilitate reuse or otherwise extend the product life cycle). Entries include, among other elements, a video uploaded to YouTube highlighting the proposed design idea. Six winning teams or individuals (three in each of two categories) will receive monetary prizes. The competition is part of the educational component of the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) Sustainable Electronics Initiative (SEI; www.sustainelectronics.illinois.edu). For more information and online registration, see www.ewaste.illinois.edu, or contact Joy Scrogum at jscrogum@istc.illinois.edu or 217-333-8948.

Greening Gym Class

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010 by

It’s a cliche, but things sure have changed since when I was in school. As I mentioned previously, my daughter recently started kindergarten. In addition to recess, which one would expect, she actually has physical education (P.E.) every third day (alternated with music and art classes). I’m pleased she’s being kept active, but surprised to be thinking about gym class quite so soon. In the midst of watching her explore the brave new word of P.E., I received an e-mail inquiry regarding the Greening Schools web site. This was a joint project of the Illinois EPA and GLRPPR’s parent organization, the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC, formerly WMRC), which is unfortunately no longer funded (please e-mail me any ideas regarding funding sources to maintain and expand this site). The inquirer was interested in greener lesson plans geared toward P.E. I’ve seen resources related to greening athletic facilities, but the idea of actually greening the P.E. curriculum was an interesting twist to me, so I decided to share some of the resources I provided in response here. In this post I’ll discuss both resources for more sustainable P.E. facilities as well as curricula.

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There is Such a Thing as a Free Lunch–Waste Free, That Is

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010 by

Laptop Lunch Box

My daughter started kindergarten last week and next week my son is off to preschool for the first time. We’ll all look back on these days fondly sometime in the future, but for now, I’m having some typical Mommy back-to-school blues. In the interest of combating those blues, I decided to focus on some greens–specifically in the form of green tips related to schools and students. In this post I’ll discuss how to reduce waste associated with school lunches; look for more discussions on green ideas and examples for K-12 and beyond in the days to come.

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