Metals Spark Creativity in College Students

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Yesterday, MetalMiner featured innovative students looking to make a difference in the world around them. During the past month, the New York Times has promoted these bright, blossoming minds, as well as their creations. Today, we’ll look at a few more “dreamers and doers,” as the Times calls them, and how they have relied on metals to spark creativity.

One eco-minded student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology invented an eclectic and electric motorcycle before even setting foot on his college campus. Nineteen-year-old Ben Gulag invented the Uno to include two side-by-side wheels, foregoing the usual motorcycle design to let the battery-powered ride offset pollution and navigate crowded streets. Lightweight metals and the battery-powered engine allow riders to store the motorcycle easily, too.

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The teen inventor of the Uno takes one for a spin. Photo Credit: NY Times.

Gulag “began assembling a prototype from conventional motorcycle parts” for a science fair, the Times shares. The project, he says, allowed him to ‘mesh two passions’ engineering and motorcycles. As he describes it, the early effort replete with burning motors resembled the scenes in the movie ‘Iron Man’ when a rocket-propelled suit goes out of control.” To avoid a replay, a robotic engineer helped him create the final product.

And taking us from motorcycles to “manly” handbags… Discarding any jokes about “murses” (man purses, for those unacquainted with the term), Iowa State University student Joe Hynek is proud to carry a handbag. Of course, he’s quick to note, it’s just for science, not to set any cadmium-telluride fashions. “On cloudless days, he wanders his neighborhood to test whether the purse, which is plated in thin solar panels and contains a lightweight battery, is absorbing energy from the sun,” the Times writes. Three hours of exposure allows the handbag to charge an iPod, camera or cellphone, the newspaper adds.

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This purse doesn’t just carry your cell phone. It can charge it, too!
Photo Credit: NY Times.

Interested in learning about more innovative, youthful minds? Visit the New York Times for more inspiring stories. Plus, we would always love to hear about more unique inventions — with a metals twist — directly from our readers!

–Amy Edwards 

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