WASHINGTON, DC — The Future Tense initiative – a partnership of New America, Arizona State University, and Slate magazine – is pleased to announce the launch of Green Electronics: A U.S.-China Maker Challenge, an unprecedented online DIY competition focused on preventing the creation of electronic waste (e-waste). The competition, a collaboration between Future Tense, China's Tsinghua University and other partners, invites U.S. and Chinese makers to find creative ways to turn yesterday's cellphone battery into tomorrow's treasure.
"This is a great opportunity for the United States and China to work toward common goals," said Emily Parker, senior fellow and digital diplomacy advisor at New America, who helped spearhead this project. "Both the U.S. and China want to encourage the innovation happening at the DIY or maker level, and both countries face the challenge of reducing e-waste."
Electronic products tend to become unusable after just a few years, and items such as computers, DVD players and cell phones frequently wind up in landfills. Some of the most creative solutions to this problem may come from U.S. and Chinese makers, many of whom already incorporate old electronic components into their DIY creations. Green electronics will encourage makers to showcase their creations online.
Participants will be 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. They will show their inventions on Instructables.com, where submissions will be accepted from April 7 - May 31, 2014. 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 Chris Anderson, former Wired editor; Joi Ito, Director of the MIT Media Lab; Mitzi Montoya, Vice President and University Dean for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Arizona State University; and Sun Hong Bin, Dean of Educational Affairs at Tsinghua University. Partners include Instructables, TechShop, Hackerspaces.org, XinCheJian, Autodesk, and Inventables.