The International Sustainable Electronics Competition ended in 2013 after inspiring students around the world to consider ways to extend the useful life of electronic devices. Now SEI is happy to witness the launch of another sustainable electronics student competition–this one focused on the reuse of smartphones or smartphone components.
Sprint, in collaboration with HOBI International, Brightstar, and Net Impact, have announced the Smartphone Encore Challenge.
From the competition web site: “Millions of smartphones get discarded each year as consumers upgrade to new models. The old phones get tucked away in drawers or thrown away, burdening landfills. According to the EPA, only about 10% of phones in the U.S. are reused or recycled. It’s such a waste – these devices are still wonders of technology, with an amazing capacity to capture, process, store, and transfer data. They’re often chock full of features, including an accelerometer, gyroscope, GPS, camera, and more. They’re also an untapped business opportunity…We want you to find profitable and innovative ways to repurpose old smartphones or their components. You get to put your creative and business skills to use addressing an important issue, and, if you win, you’ll get some support to put your idea in motion.”
Specifically, the winning team will receive $5000 which can be used toward attending a Startup Weekend (powered by Google for Entrepreneurs) to work on the development of their idea. Winners will also receive guidance from executives at Sprint, Brightstar, and HOBI to strengthen their business model. “In addition, the winner and two runners up will be featured in a Net Impact ‘Issues in Depth’ webinar on Earth Day. They’ll also present their business ideas to sponsor executives through a videoconference, and will be highlighted in a national press release from Sprint.”
Sounds pretty cool, right? Well, if you’re interested, there are a couple of important points to note. First, participants need to be members of the Net Impact student community. Simple enough–it’s free to join. Next, be aware that students can choose to participate as individuals or as members of teams.
Most importantly, participation in the competition is limited to the first 25 registrants. Full details, including the registration form, are available on the competition web site.
Those lucky 25 will be shipped an entry kit containing:
- Two (2) pre-owned Android smartphones for reference and prototyping — the devices will be fully activated with voice, text, and data for the length of the contest
- List of device features/capabilities and guidance on disassembly/repair
- List of estimated costs for the device as well as voice, text and data connectivity to help price your product
- A consent form that all members of the team will need to sign and return
- Pre-paid shipping label to return the devices at the end of the competition
Each team (or individual registrant) will develop a product concept and business pitch (and optionally a brief video). These ideas must be submitted by March 27, 2015, at 11:59 pm PT.
Expert judges will select one winner and two runners up, based upon criteria outlined on the competition web site.
So put your thinking caps on, students. Your solution might just become a reality.