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Student Inventors: Gabrielle Palermo and G3Box

Gabrielle Palermo, Susanna Young, and Clay Tyler assembling a G3Box. Photo Courtesy Arizona State University

Ever dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur? If so, you’re in good company – over half of U.S. millennials (ages 18 to 34) say they want to start a business or already have done so, according to a recent survey from the Kaufmann Foundation. Even more exciting is the fact that nowadays, starting a business does not necessitate leaving school, as more and more universities are striving to accommodate entrepreneurial students.

In this new eGFI blog series, we bring you four inspiring stories of undergraduate engineering students who have successfully patented their original ideas, teamed up with classmates and professors to launch businesses, and navigated the startup world, all while keeping up with their coursework.

So step aside, Bill Gates – the days of dropout turned entrepreneur may be numbered.

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Best of 2011: Our Top Stories

The Most Popular, Interesting, Weird, or Just Plain Cool eGFI Blog Posts of 2011

2011 was another busy year for engineers all over the world. From inventing a device that turns air into water to exploring the oceans in a tiny submarine, scientists and engineers are exploring uncharted territory.

Like last year, we at eGFI have chronicled the most awe-inspiring innovations and stories, so in case you missed one, we present:

The Most Popular, Interesting, Weird, or Just Plain Cool eGFI Blog Posts of 2011

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It’s Here! The 5th Edition of
Engineering, Go For It

Like our new magazine cover? Snatch up the 44″ x 25″ poster

What do the blockbuster movie Avatar, high-performance sports gear, the Angry Birds phone app, and pollution-eating bacteria have in common? They are among a host of fascinating innovations developed by engineers and featured in the newest edition of the American Society for Engineering Education’s (ASEE) Engineering, Go For It magazine.

The publication is now available in our online store. You can find a free preview of the magazine here.

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Water Bottles to Illuminate a Million Homes

In Manila, the capital of the Philippines, lack of electricity keeps millions of the city’s poorer inhabitants in the dark. Metal rooftops on the city’s slum houses also block natural daylight, but students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found a cheap and elegant solution to the problem: plastic water bottles.

By filling a plastic bottle with water and bleach (to prevent algae from growing), students and residents can fashion a solar lamp that fills even the gloomiest shelters with light. It works thanks to phenomenon you may have learned in physics class – refraction. When sunlight passes through the bottle and hits the water, its rays bend and disperse in many different directions.

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Berkeley Engineers Help Student Walk

When University of California, Berkeley senior Austin Whitney walked across the stage at graduation on May 14, 2011, it was more than just a personal triumph. His rise from a wheelchair represented a triumph for paralyzed people everywhere–and for engineers whose adaptive technology designs have helped disabled individuals overcome mobility limitations.

“Ask anybody in a wheelchair; ask what it would mean to once again stand and shake someone’s hand while facing them at eye level,” Whitney, 22, said in a pre-graduation university news report about his feat. “It will be surreal, like a dream.”

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