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Construction and Deconstruction

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Algae as Biofuel?

NAME: Jon Spencer

WORK: Researching alternative fuel sources

HCLC EXPERIENCE: A Harkness Fund recipient, Jon Spencer, along with Mida McKenrick, developed an algae photobioreactor that stimulates continuous growth of algae, whose accelerated photosynthetic process and high oil content make it an ideal source for renewable biofuel. Jon has since gone on to be a research scientist with the Environmental Research Group at the University of New Hampshire, as well as working for Simply Green Biofuels in Portsmouth, NH.  Read more about Jon>

IN YOUR OWN WORDS: “I’m passionate about my work and believe there is a serious potential for algae to be a renewable local fuel source for the future. We need to radically rethink our energy systems, and we need to do it now.”

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The Bicycle Ambulance

NAME: Aaron Wieler

WORK: Design and Fabrication

HCLC EXPERIENCE: Lemelson faculty and staff supported and collaborated with Aaron, an HCLC alum who spent a year living in Namibia, Africa. He teamed up with the Bicycle Empowerment Network to establish a bicycle ambulance-building facility in Namibia’s capital city of Windhoek. Together with BEN Namibia, Wieler has designed, prototyped, field tested, and manufactured bicycle ambulances to distribute to the regional health network of rural clinics and hospitals. Hampshire College purchased one of these bicycle ambulances to present to the His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who addressed the regional community on May 9, 2007.  Watch a video on the making of the ambulance>

IN YOUR OWN WORDS: “HCLC sets an example of a program that is able to help an educational institution create effective learning environments while supporting students as they engage in work supporting movement toward social justice.”

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NAME: Witt Wisebram

WORK: Co-founder, WonderRoot

HCLC EXPERIENCE: The idea for WonderRoot, a non-profit that seeks to increase fine arts mentoring and learning opportunities for disadvantaged neighborhoods in Atlanta, was envisioned by a group of friends who grew up in the city. Hampshire student Witt Wisebram, through his Division III study and HCLC’s Social Entrepreneurship class, has helped his group’s vision become a reality: WonderRoot has forged several partnerships with artists and a community center, hosting a photography show for an artist displaced by Hurricane Katrina and bringing art activities to Youth for Tomorrow, an inner city mentorship program.

IN YOUR OWN WORDS: “We are artists giving back to the community that has done so much to inspire us.”

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All in Play

NAME: Paul Silva and Jeremie Spitzer

WORK: Co-founders of  All in Play: Games with Vision

HCLC EXPERIENCE: While students at Hampshire, Jeremie and Paul launched All in Play (formerly Zform), a company that creates fully accessible, high-quality, online games designed to promote social interaction and communication. These games use the latest audio, networking, and software technologies to allow people to play regardless of visual impairment or geographical location. All in Play breaks down social barriers between visually impaired and sighted individuals by providing a compelling interactive environment where visual impairment is not a factor and the playing field is level.

IN YOUR OWN WORDS: “At the heart of our community are games that provide a fun, friendly setting where people can celebrate old friendships and create new ones from across the globe.”

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Humble Abodes

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Fire Artist

NAME: Kamil Peters

WORK: Fire Artist, Community Activist

HCLC EXPERIENCE: Throughout his career at Hampshire, Kamil Peters studied the intersection of art and community action. Combining a talent for metalwork and sculpture with a desire to open doors for today’s youth has produced collaborations such as Get Up Get Down, a mentorship initiative with a local youth action group.  Read more>

For his Division III Kamil Peters concentrated on the mask, an ancient art form. He constructed a series of 100 masks displayed in various locations in the Northampton-Amherst area, as well as a gallery installation on-campus. Kamil continues to hone his craft and business, and has accepted several impressive commission pieces, including a life-sized giraffe sculpture.  View Kamil’s work>

IN YOUR OWN WORDS: “I think the thing I like most about Lemelson is that it gave me the opportunity to do something I never had a chance to do before.”

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Little Guitar Works

NAME: Jerome Little

WORK: Founder, Little Guitar Works

HCLC EXPERIENCE: While at Hampshire Jerome received a grant from Lemelson which supported the research, design, and construction of the first Torzal ergonomic electric bass. The neck of the guitar is constructed so that the fretboard and strings are rotated on the longitudinal axis of the neck. This positioning of the strings makes them easier to finger by reducing wrist tension. The innovative twist greatly reduces the risk of carpal tunnel and other repetitive motion injuries common to guitar players. With HCLC support, Jerome received a patent for his invention in September 1999.

IN YOUR OWN WORDS: “We believe that by building high-quality instruments with integrity and thought toward the user, we can help make musicians happy and healthy.”

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Going Solar

Janterm Class Builds Mobile Solar Charging Station

Beth Ferguson 96F returned to campus to co-teach a January term course with applied design professor Donna Cohn in the Hampshire College Lemelson Center. The 16 students who enrolled in their Urban Eco-Design class created a solar charging station for the campus.
Complete with pop-out seating and table space, the charger provides a handy outdoor spot to recharge laptops and other portable devices, including power for speakers for outdoor concerts. On wheels, it can move where needed, although it will most often be near the community garden. Built on a 4-foot by 8-foot boat trailer, the portable charger has many green features, such as recycled materials and a set of vertical hanging pockets for growing plants.
The designers also took care to be true to their school: the solar panels are arranged in the H of the Hampshire logo, and glow at night.
Ferguson’s company, Sol Design Lab, is based in Texas. A colleague from that state, industrial designer Dallas Swindle, provided assistance in the Hampshire course. A renewable-energy electronics company, Outback Power, donated the inverter for the charging station.

Faculty and students presented the newly completed charging station in the HCLC shop on Tuesday, January 25th.

Listen to NPR’s coverage of the charging station on WFCR.

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NFG Cycles