US-China competition encourages ideas to prevent electronic waste

April 14, 2014

With rapid advances in technology, electronic products tend to become unusable after just a few short years. Computers, DVD players, refrigerators, cell phones, copiers and televisions are just a few examples of electronic products that typically wind up as electronic waste (e-waste), filling landfills both domestically and internationally.

Approximately 50 million tons of e-waste is produced each year, and only about 15 to 20 percent of it is recycled. If not handled properly, e-waste can have a significant adverse effect on human and environmental health. Download Full Image

The U.S.-China Green Electronics Competition launched this week is tackling this challenge head-on. The United States and China, two of the world’s biggest e-waste producers, have joined forces to raise awareness of the effects of e-waste and promote sustainable solutions. The challenge is an unprecedented worldwide online DIY competition focused on preventing the creation of e-waste.

Spearheaded by the Future Tense initiative, a partnership of Arizona State University, New America Foundation, and Slate magazine, and China's Tsinghua University in collaboration with other partners, the competition invites U.S. and Chinese makers to find creative ways to turn yesterday's electronics into tomorrow's technology.

“This exciting initiative engages creative young people not only in Arizona and around the U.S., but innovators in China as well,” said Patricia Reiter, director of ASU's Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives. “Supporting the sustainable efforts of preventing e-waste on the international level represents a tremendous opportunity for inspiring innovation and cultural exchange.”

Challenge participants are invited to upcycle or hack an electronic product to create a new electronic product; repair an electronic product; create a sustainable electronic product; or create artwork from used electronic products. The competition emphasizes the growing trend of the maker movement, a technology-based extension of the do-it-yourself (DIY) culture.

“At the core, we are all tinkers and makers,” said Micah Lande, assistant professor of engineering at ASU’s Fulton Schools of Engineering. “We build our worlds around interacting through technology. Today’s DIY movement has characteristics that allow us to showcase our creations online. So now we can expand the movement from DIY to ‘do-it-together,’ and broaden our community as we create and make with others around the world.”

Innovative ideas for how to prevent e-waste can be submitted through, from April 7 to May 31. Following a round of public voting, a panel of judges will choose the best selections from each country. Winners will receive prizes, as well as the opportunity to showcase their creations on Slate.

Judges include Victor Koo, founder and CEO of YouKu Tudou Inc. in China; Mitzi Montoya, ASU’s vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation; Chris Anderson, former Wired editor; Joi Ito, director of the MIT Media Lab; and Sun Hong Bin, dean of Educational Affairs at Tsinghua University. Partners include Instructables, TechShop,, XinCheJian, Autodesk and Inventables.

Phoenix-area competitors can take advantage of ASU’s innovative atmosphere and the university’s first-of-its-kind partnership with TechShop, the DIY workshop and fabrication studio. The TechShop at the ASU Chandler Innovation Center will be hosting a kickoff event for the competition on April 14.

For more information about the competition and how you can get involved, please visit:

Artists of the Black Community/AZ to present exhibit at ASU Gammage

April 14, 2014

A wide variety of artwork by emerging and established local African-American artists will be on display at ASU Gammage May 8-June 12. The Artists of the Black Community/AZ will present a vibrant collection of watercolor paintings, layered wood work, oil and acrylic paintings, and artwork in ceramics, glass and metal.

Six artists will be represented, including Stephen Marc, photographer and professor of art at Arizona State University; William H. Palmer, sculptor, painter and woodworker; Khandra Howard, an emerging ceramic artist working in clay, glass and metal; oil and acrylic painters Frederick Hodge and Richard Retter; and Rhonda Shakur Carter, who works in constructed wood oils and acrylics. Shakur Carter artwork Download Full Image

Marc is known for his digital photo montages that address the historical African Diaspora, with an emphasis on pre-1935 African-Americans. His research project, Passage on the Underground Railroad, is a traveling exhibition that was shown throughout the country and resulted in a book published in 2009.

Palmer, who passed away in 2011, began to find his voice in the 1950s, when he attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and Cocoran School of Art in Washington, D.C. His sculpture and paintings have been exhibited both nationally and internationally.

Howard, who is educated as an electrical engineer and computer scientist, began working in clay 11 years ago. She draws inspiration from African textiles, African art and culture, everyday life, the colors of nature, sea life, insects and vegetation, as well as random shapes and patterns, and the unpredictable nature of clay.

Hodge specializes in acrylic painting, sketching, and pen and ink drawing, especially realistic and figurative portraits. He grew up in Texas, and was largely self-taught, though he later earned a bachelor of fine arts from ASU. He has exhibited at a number of local art shows and galleries.

Retter’s works are large acrylic paintings full of color and movement, which are detailed in stylized dots, reminiscent of pointillism art. Each one conveys a story about the beauty of our world. He worked with special needs populations for more than 20 years as creator and creative arts director of the “Drawn Together” art program.

Carter is a self-taught artist from Glendale, Ariz., who works in several mediums, and will exhibit pieces that are oil and acrylic paint on layered wood. She is inspired by life all around her, the good and the bad.

Exhibit hours at ASU Gammage are 1-4 p.m., Mondays, or by appointment. Due to rehearsals, event set-up, performances, special events and holidays, it is advisable to call (480) 965-6912 or (480) 965-0458 to ensure viewing hours, since they are subject to cancellation without notice.

The street address is 1200 S. Forest Ave., Tempe. Parking is available at meters around the perimeter of ASU Gammage. Entrance is through east lobby doors at the box office.