Friday, December 30, 2011

Electronic-Free Drivers across the Nation?

The end of 2011 has arrived and 35 states so far have banned text messaging while driving. All of those 35 states can still use hand-free accessories. Several of the legislation in 2011 has focused more on text messaging behind the wheel. That is considered more dangerous of a driving activity than cell phone use in general. However, this December, the National Transportation Safety Board urged the states to also ban hands-free use of electronic devices. Even though the ban of text messaging is in effect for some states, accidents from electronic distracted drivers are on the rise. Devices that combine call messaging such as Voxer, navigation, Internet surfing, data retrieval and audio could be causing the accidents to grow. Becoming more popular is the introduction of vehicles with dashboard-mounted, interactive computer screens with internet, smart phone synchronization and video capabilities. The laws are on portable devices and not the manufactured installed devices. Corporations and some celebrities are speaking about the dangers of electronic distractions while driving. We will have to see in 2012 if everyone must own a hands-free accessory or just have the inconvenience of pulling over to use their portable electronic devices.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Self-Healing Circuits

Can you count how many cell phones you have owned on one hand? Either the screen freezes or the battery has problems staying charged. With frustration, you end up just buying a new one and throwing the old in a drawer to be fixed later. The drawer becomes full with a series of “could work again” phones. Then you toss them in the trash.
Now, what if the phone could fix itself? At the University of Illinois, scientists are creating self-healing electronic circuits. The research team developed a system of capsules, filled with liquid metal. These are placed along the circuit and when broken are released to restore connectivity to complete the circuit again. The research team ran test on their system and amazingly the system can repair circuits in a fraction of a second! Greater parts of circuits are returning nearly to 100% capacity. That means the device would be fixed without the owner even having acknowledgment that there was ever a problem. The system can repair circuits even when technicians could not find where the problem occurs. With cell phones repairing themselves it would decrease the percent of cell phones ending up as electronic waste. How exciting!

Recycling 101

San Antonio electronic waste; Corona Visions Inc. is a recycling center in San Antonio that helps the community understand the importance of recycling electronics. Do you know the magnitude of electronic recycling and the actions that some irresponsible recycling centers are doing?
Well if you don’t here is a quick overview of the horrendous problem we need to face. Just about everyone takes their unwanted electronics and throws it in the trash. We are not just talking about computers, laptops or cell phones, we’re talking about anything that plugs in or uses batteries. Think about how much one owns in their home that is electronic. After the unwanted electronics are thrown in the trash it goes to either two places; U.S. landfills or simply shipped overseas. Another interesting fact is that several pieces of electronics are dangerous! They can cause serious illnesses such as cancer or brain damage to those who do not know how to break them down properly.
United States “junk”, the unwanted electronics, are getting shipped overseas to developing countries where they do not have the resources to properly breakdown and dispose of the equipment. We face our landfills being packed with electronics and people around the world are becoming ill because we throw our electronics in the trash. That was the eye opener for me. My ignorance was causing people to become ill?!
 This quick overview may cause you to stutter in thought about what not to do with the unwanted electronics. You know not to throw them in the trash but what do you do with them? You can take them into a recycling center, but here. So many recycling centers out there swear they are responsible and it never gets shipped overseas. Sad thing is so many still do, and maybe the company doesn’t even know it. Things get sold or passed down and then oops the shipment is now in Ghana (one of the several homes for United States e-waste). You have to do your research. Pick a recycling center with EPA guidelines and are E-Steward certified. Behind these recycling centers are people with the passion to help the environment. Lets face it electronic recycling is not necessarily brining in the cash, Vandell Norwood, owner Corona Visions Inc. teaches the dangers that lie in  everyday home and office electronics. He also teaches how we can increase employment for San Antonio if companies do not send their end-of-life equipment to other cities. Why are they being sent else where when there are responsible recycling centers right next door? 
In 2008 Mr. Norwood helps explains to National Geographic in an article High-Tech Trash, in regards to United States responsibility of recycling electronics. He has worked with local San Antonio retailers informing them of recycling services. Finally in 2009, he helped pass  House Bill 284 and 821 that requires companies to report international shipments of electronic waste and established the computer equipment recycling program that requires manufacturers to accept computers back from consumers for recycling and imposes penalties against manufacturers who do not comply.
Corona Visions Inc has been established in San Antonio since 1997. CVI promotes electronic education to the children in schools. Corona Vision educates the community on the importance of recycling electronics. CVI began 14 years ago and will be around for plenty more years to come.