Students participate in contest to create low-cost internet

By Shawn Adderly

In front of Lincoln hall, students were exhibiting novel ways of re-using old computers. The students were from ART 326D that focuses on sustainability and E-Waste (Electronic Waste).

The exhibition showed a variety of ways computers could be reused such as making an E-garden, and furniture.

Lubo Grouez, a senior in FAA and his team of fellow students worked on a neighborhood server project which could be used in areas around the world that generally do not have access to internet.

“We’ve devised a method to give people low-cost access to the internet,” Grouez said. “We will allow people to be able to access the internet without having a physical computer in their home; they would access it through a terminal.”

The class is interdisciplinary students are welcome from all areas. Some of the students at the event were from urban planning, architecture, industrial design and engineering backgrounds.

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“We are trying to keep the cycle going for as long as we can trying to delay these objects from ending up in a landfill,” said Eric Heyen a senior in Media. He said he hopes that he can go into marketing sustainably friendly ideas and products, as a profession.

The teams were competing for total of $15,000 worth of prizes, sponsored by top technology companies such as Microsoft and Motorola. Each team could be judged on two categories social or technical, according to Marissa Dolin, the Teaching Assistant for the course.

The course was co-taught by William Bullock a professor in industrial design and Willie Cade the CEO of PC Rebuilders and Recyclers.

Bullock said this was the first time they’ve ever taught the class.

“I got really interested in the topic of electronic waste, “ Bullock said.

One of the primaries motivators for this class Bullock said was, to “learn about how we handle E-waste and understand the domestic and international aspects of this problem.”

The first semester of the class focused on resaearching the problems of E-waste while the second semester was focused on design and innovation, according to Dolin.

“We were focused to find uses for things we were throwing in the trash,” Bullock said.

Five tons of old computers parts were donated for this project.

“These are some magnificent ideas to commercialize,” Cade said. Cade said he wants students to try and take their ideas as far as they can.

The University plans to run a contest nationwide next year, and the course will be taught again next spring.