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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

The disassembly and re-purposing of unwanted consumer electronics: low-cost tools for optics outreach
Author(s): Laura B. Andre; Timothy Jones

Paper Abstract

Community outreach events conducted by collaborating optical societies in Southeast Michigan shaped our perception of local science education needs and caused us to explore whether discarded consumer electronics might be utilized for low-cost and hands-on STEM activities. We found that point-and-shoot cameras are widely available and excellent sources for optical and electromechanical components. Moreover, the process of disassembly along with the exploration and use of recovered components was a flexible platform for learning activities. In this exploratory case study, elementary school students disassembled cameras, harvested lenses, motors, and other functional mechanisms then reused these components to build something new. The activity encouraged a process of inquiry, independent exploration and tinkering, and deserves further investigation as an educational tool for the introduction of STEM topics. Our approach, safety precautions, and tips for disassembling cameras are discussed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 2 July 2019
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 11143, Fifteenth Conference on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics: ETOP 2019, 111431E (2 July 2019); doi: 10.1117/12.2523621
Show Author Affiliations
Laura B. Andre, Univ. of Michigan (United States)
Timothy Jones, OSA (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 11143:
Fifteenth Conference on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics: ETOP 2019
Anne-Sophie Poulin-Girard; Joseph A. Shaw, Editor(s)

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