Sunday, October 24, 2021

MSU Denver student has developed a gadget that turns a phone into a laptop

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DENVER — An MSU Denver graduate recently designed a 3D printed prototype that converts your smartphone into a laptop.

“The influx of students calling in and saying that they don’t have resources that need to get online at that time really was just the spark,” he said. “Just hearing all of those stories, I knew that the issue of going remote left people behind. Byron Reed
Dominique Hunt designed a 3D prototype after the pandemic forced students into remote learning
It’s a story Hunt is familiar with growing up in Kenya after his parents moved there when he was 6 years old. He said that’s where his passion for industrial design started when he was in high school.

Dominique Hunt graduated in May with a degree in industrial design. He said he came up with the idea called PhoneBook, a smartphone dock that converts it into a laptop interface, when he was working for the school’s IT department 2 years ago when the pandemic forced students into remote learning. In those first months, he said many students called the department in search of computers.

“My high school teacher, she taught about industrial design in my art class,” Hunt said. “My love for design really started coming in when I realized how we can create better sustainable solutions through design.”

Hunt said his prototype weighs less than a pound because it contains a removable keyboard houses a rechargeable battery pack. He said his idea can be an affordable way help bridge the gap in the digital divide worldwide because it has so few components, each PhoneBook can be less than $100.

He said in his home town in Kenya, sustainability and protecting the environment is embedded in their everyday practices.

“Those who don’t have access to technology are kind of at a disadvantage not being able to experience or learn,” Hunt said. “Kenya is extremely connected with the internet (and) over the past decade, they’ve reached over 90% connectivity per person.”

“You knew right away it had merit that went well beyond the classroom,” said MSU Denver associate professor Amy Kern, Ph.D. “Even small villages now have access to 3d printing so if they have the file, they can print it anywhere internationally.”

Hunt developed the concept in an Advanced Industrial Design course taught by Kern. She said the class is structured for students to develop projects that can apply to real-life. “We were able to uses his talent and sensitivity and really transform it in a very usable product in a way that can affect more people’s lives,” Kern said.

This month, Hunt’s prototype took second place in the Stanford Center on Longevity Design Challenge, a global competition that encourages students to design products and services to improve the lives of people across all ages. Out of 222 entries from 37 countries, Hunt was the top U.S finisher. Dominique Hunt this month took second place in the Stanford Center on Longevity Design Challenge, a global competition encouraging students to design products and services to improve the lives of people across all ages. PhoneBook is a smartphone dock that converts it into a laptop interface. There’s no software housed in the 3D-printed device; a removable keyboard houses a rechargeable battery pack, and the phone functions simultaneously as a receiver for the screen and a trackpad.
“Technology being so intertwined especially during the pandemic when we rely on it more than any other times, it really made it important,” Hunt said. “Just being at home didn’t mean I couldn’t do anything because I didn’t want to live that way.”

For more information, go to the Stanford Center on Longevity Design Challenge website. An investigation found allegations of sexual assault against Anderson were unsubstantiated, according to a report from DPS.

Investigators did substantiate claims that Anderson engaged in flirtatious social media messages with a 16-year-old while he was a board member. “Some may feel this resolution is too strong. Others will say it did not go far enough. What I can say is it is a step forward. We are accountable for our actions and must hold each other accountable,” Denver Public School Board President Dr. Carrie Olson said.

Anderson said he would not resign, and would complete his term as director until 2023. “Today is just a day for us to close this chapter and be able to move forward together,” Anderson said. “The board has spoken. They censured me, which means they disapproved of my actions. Now it’s time to get back to work for our children.”

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  • MSU Denver student has developed a gadget that turns a phone into a laptop
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