Friday, September 5, 2008

Portable electronic devices and you

Within the last 8 years, portable electronic devices (PED) including handphones, mp3s, laptops and digital cameras have been on the rise. Due to the technological advancement in recent years, companies have been manufacturing different kinds of a particular electronic device on a large scale so as to cater to the needs of the society.

As can be seen from Science Faculty students in NUS, many of us has or have owned at least 2 of the above listed PEDs. With the constant introduction of new models of these PEDs (eg iPhone, Samsung Omnia, Macbook air etc), people are always looking for an upgrade from their current PED to a newer model. Sony Ericsson, being one of the first few labels that introduced camera phones into the market, has been constantly upgrading their phones from the initial VGA built-in camera to a now 5 megapixel camera phone. Brands like Apple and Creative, IBM and HP have also done the same for the respective PED that they manufacture. With the latest models being sold in the market, who wouldn’t be tempted to be part of the era of cutting edge technology?

This aside, some people do not believe in buying phones that are integrated with camera and music functions. To them, a camera is a camera and a phone with integrated camera just doesn’t seem to serve justice. These people feel that the qualities of the pictures may not turn out as good if taken with a camera phone
and playing music with a handphone uses up the battery within a shorter span of time. By just looking at the science students in NUS, we can observe that the average number of PEDs a person owns is increasing. This being said, more resources are actually being used up to make new PEDs each time. When a person decides to upgrade his/her current working handphone to a newer model, the old phone gets “chucked” aside. The accumulation of old electronic devices creates more junk and wastage and many people do not know how to get rid of this junk the proper way. I myself(shamelessly) own a camera phone, an mp3 player, a digital camera and a laptop and for the most part, I dare say that I have no idea how i'm going to dispose of these PEDs should I decide to get new ones. Get Wall-E maybe?

Research Question:
Do Science Faculty students in NUS know the possible consequences that can result from accumulation and improper disposal of electronic junk?

Purpose Statement:
The main objective would be to find out if NUS students know how to dispose of their electronic junk (should they have any). Another purpose is also to find out if NUS Science Faculty students are aware about the consequences of improper disposal of electronic junk. Last but not least, to research on the various effects of how electronic junk can harm our environment.

Reason for Attitudinal Survery:

We need to know how many NUS students actually have the habit of constantly buying new electronic products and not knowing how to dispose of their old ones properly. By doing this, we can then propose appropriate solutions to this matter. We, of course, are not telling students to stop buying PEDs but ultimately, we want them to be aware of the consequences and how they can act responsibly when dealing with issues regarding this.


Brad Blackstone said...

This is an interesting general topic. Your question seems to need some work though. In fact, it is two questions, but they are not joined properly.

You need more work on this, Tiffany. You need to also tell me why a survey would be important for this research.


Tiffany said...

Hi Brad!

I have worked on refining the research question and did up the reasons for a survey. Please let me know if it still needs changes. Thanks for your comment!

Lyon said...

Hello Tiffany,

This topic is indeed very relevant at this Information Technology age. From a simple black and white phone to a coloured phone. From a gadget meant solely for making calls and contacting people to one with a 5 mega-pixel camera (even comes with optical zoom!). The advancement of technology is simply too fast and furious!

In the past there was Game Boy and now there are PSP and Nitendo DS! Not only they are both really portable, they have managed to find a niche in this super competitive market! PSP can access the Internet through Wi-Fi and Nintendo DS can play games using its touch screen! There are many people out there who own both of them!

This is why that makes your research really relevant and important. People have to be aware of their needs and wants and make appropriate decisions on their purchases. If we do not do something about it, we might all be drowned in these gadgets before we knew it and like what you said, we might need to do some space traveling while Wall.e cleans up the Earth for us.

melvinho said...

I was here Tiffy! And your purpose statement does indeed include two parts!

Tiffany said...

Thanks Melvin for your somewhat constructive comments! Our group has worked on the research question and tried to refine it! so hopefully by the time we do our report, it will be more focussed.

Tiffany said...

Lyon! Thanks for your comments. Yes everyone would agree with you that the improvements in technology has come to a stage where it is at bullet-train speed. In this day and era, many young people are carrying the lastest and most up-to-date devices (which i sometimes wonder where they get so much money to buy them from) but in my opinion, I feel that many of them are not really aware of the consequences that can result if these electronic devices are not disposed of properly.

Electronic waste pile-ups is one thing, but imagine batteries and the chemicals inside them, how are all these actually disposed of so that it doesn't harm our environment? I'm quite sure an average student (like us) will not know exactly how disposal of electronic waste is being done. Hence, i'm really looking forward to doing this research topic! It would really be interesting to find out data like this!