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Winning Designs Reduce Environmental Impacts of Computers

Release Date: 05/12/2004
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Dave Ryan, 202-564-7827 /

(05/12/04) The selected winners of the Cradle to Cradle Electronics Design Challenge are being recognized for their creative electronic designs that contain fewer toxic components, require fewer materials to make, and generate less waste at the end of the consumer electronics product’s useful life. The winners were presented with awards today at the 2004 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Symposium for Electronics and the Environment in Scottsdale, Ariz. The National Recycling Coalition predicts that 500 million computers will become obsolete by 2007. The first place winning design, called “LINC,” was submitted by a University of Cincinnati student, Brett Christie. It features a compact, solar powered hand-held unit that replaces multiple electronic devices such as WiFi Internet, GPS Navigation, Movie Player, Music Player and E-Book. Customers return the LINC unit to the manufacturer, where its components are recycled to create new LINC units. The second place design, called “Ecoprojection,” was submitted by a team of students, Junko Hosokawa, Stuart Ottenritter, John Gualtieri and Michael Dickson, from Virginia Tech at Blacksburg. “Ecoprojection” replaces the cathode ray tubes and plasma screen technologies in personal computers (PCs) by using a full color laser to project images onto a variety of surfaces. This uniquely designed PC also includes a modular CPU (central processing unit) with components that can be taken out while the machine is running. The components can be sent back to the manufacturer when upgrades are desired. This design showcases novel materials such as: a releasable adhesive for printed circuit boards, and plastics and metals that return to their standard shape with minimal reprocessing, thereby expediting reuse of the material. The third place design, called “bioPC,” was submitted by a team of students, Summer Hill, Pooja Goyal, Joe Bradley and Ben Shao, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “bioPC” proposes the use of a type of bacteria, Bacteriorhodsin (BR) for information storage; the personal computer is made from biodegradable plastic materials, which are designed to be returned to a municipal composting facility at the end of the personal computer’s useful life. The IEEE Symposium ( is the leading forum worldwide for electronics industry leaders to explore the latest environmental aspects of design, manufacturing, research, development, recycling and marketing of electronics products. The first and second place winners receive $5,000 each, donated by Hewlett-Packard and IBM. The third place winner receives $4,000, donated by Lexmark Corporation and the Consumer Electronics Association. More information on the Cradle to Cradle Electronics Design Challenge is available at: . More information on the Resource Conservation Challenge is available at: