Students engineer lanterns to send to Nepal and South Africa | MyWindsorNow.com

Students engineer lanterns to send to Nepal and South Africa

Kendall Krautsack
kkrautsack@greeleytribune.com

Sixth-grader Maiya Wright works on soldering as her parents look on Saturday at Severance Middle School. Students and parents participated in engineering lanterns to be sent to Nepal and South Africa as part of the Engineering Brightness program at Severeance Middle School.

Students, parents and teachers gathered early Saturday morning at Severance Middle School to design and engineer lanterns to send to people without electric light in Nepal and South Africa.

The Engineering Brightness program run by Kristen Crank and Jen Maley hosted the event for anyone in the community, specifically middle and high school students and their parents.

The 50 participants were divided into two groups — designers and solders. The designers constructed their creations on computers and then saw the prototypes come to life through 3D printing.

In the room next door, the solders wore goggles as little puffs of smoke arose while they created the circuit boards for the LED lights. Sixth graders Nevaeh Hinojosa and Cassidy Harris said they like both designing and soldering.

“We took into consideration how to hold the lanterns. Like for four- or five-year-olds taking it to the bathroom and what would be comfortable for them.” Levi Beals

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"Me and Nevaeh came up with the design," Harris said referring to the latest prototype.

"I like seeing the lights light up," Hinojosa added, referring to the circuit boards.

Both girls devoted their Saturday to the project because they like engineering and wanted to give something to others.

"I like helping people and making a difference," Hinojosa said. " I like seeing people smile."

"I like all the energy." Harris said. "Everyone's so excited to make a difference through engineering."

Designers were broken up into three groups. They presented their ideas and articulated the reasons behind their designs.

"We took into consideration how to hold the lanterns," Levi Beals said. "Like for four- or five-year-olds taking it to the bathroom and what would be comfortable for them."

Another student proposed putting the charging port on the bottom so it doesn't topple over. One teacher suggested adding a hook so the lantern could be worn around the neck.

Sixth grader Maiya Wright was accompanied by both her parents and helped teach them how to design on the computer using a 3D printer. Wright said she thinks certain aspects are important to keep in mind. "I think about how it will feel in your hand," she said. "Functionality explains it all — how it feels, how it will work and how they'll like it."

Her mother, Melissa, added she likes being involved in the process.

"I'm pleased the school offers things like this and if we can get the message out to people locally and get people involved we can really give back to people in need," she said.

Parents were encouraged to participate in the event.

"We want the parents to work together with the students and learn about what their kids are learning," Crank said.

Crank also stressed the importance of using 3D printers for good when often times they can be just for silliness or fun.

"We want them to learn purposeful printing," she added.

Crank said their goal is to send 25 lanterns to Nepal and five to South Africa.

After printing their designs students were asked to sign their name on the bottom of their lantern so their recipient would know who made it. The students then took a picture to send with the lanterns and will receive a picture back of the recipients.

"We want to teach about 3D printing, circuiting, designing and soldering but also about empathy and philanthropy and how to look for solutions to different problems," Crank said. "That's really what I want them to walk away with."

Energy access facts

» There are currently 1.5 billion people in the world without safe or reliable electricity.

» 17 percent of the global population lack access to electricity, despite modest improvements.

» More than 95 percent of those living without electricity are in countries in sub-Saharan Africa and developing Asia, and they are predominantly in rural areas.

» Hundreds of millions of people have attained modern energy access over the last two decades, especially in China and India. Economic development, urbanization and ongoing energy access programs have been helped this achievement.