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Engineering Outreach: Wireless transmitter project

ECE Professor and Associate Chair, Betty Lise Anderson, and ECE student Clayton Greenbaum debuted a new K-12 Engineering Outreach Project Tuesday morning for the Minority Engineering (MEP) summer camp class.

The ECE volunteers showed 7th and 8th graders how to build their own wireless transmitter, using nothing but a handful of store-bought tools. Each transmitter cost less than $2 to make.

As Greenbaum hovered over the wires connecting one female student's project together, the tiny light suddenly came to life.

"I did it!" the girl exclaimed.

"Holy tamole, it works," Greenbaum said.

He helped design the project so students could build a low-cost simple circuit to wirelessly transfer energy through basic electromagnetics. He said many of these projects are hard to provide to large numbers of students under a budget, so he and the team came up with creative solutions to bring the cost down.

"How come mine doesn't work?" another girl asked, looking at her project.

"There's got to be a loose connection here somewhere," Anderson said, looking over the wires.

Greenbaum said the students get a kick out of the wireless capabiities.

"It's like magic to them," he said.

The mission of MEP is to ensure the talents of previously underrepresented ethnic minorities are included in the engineering profession, helping to grow the number of overall professionals in the field. Additionally, the program helps assure that all engineering students understand and appreciate diversity as prerequisites for optimum achievement in a such a global society. 

A boy in the back said, "If I can get this to work, then I just might try to be an electrical engineer."

"Well, then we better make sure this works," Greenbaum said, leaning over to help.

To see more pictures from the event, click HERE. Click HERE to see a short video from the day.