20 February 2010

Medals have tech in them

Category: Randomness,Technology — Posted by Michael at 1939

Vancouver Gold Medal

The medals being presented at the Vancouver Winter Games have the distinction of being “first” in several ways. It’s the first time they aren’t flat. These medals are of an undulating design. Basically, that means they look wrinkled. Personally, I’m still not sure if i like that feature or not.

They also are the first medals that aren’t all the same. Each medal is etched with a randomly cropped portion of a piece of Canadian First Nation artwork representing orca whales.

However, the part that most caught my attention is the fact that the Vancouver medals have technology in them, but not in the way that you think. They don’t have chips in them. They actually have old technology items in them! Some of the metal used to mint the medals came from recycled e-waste. E-waste is a huge problem. I deal with it at work and at home. Old computer equipment and electronics build up at an astounding rate. I know that recycling a small amount of gold, silver and copper and reusing it in Olympic medals isn’t exactly going to solve the problem, but it’s nice to see an opportunity to better publicize the issue. I’m just sorry that I haven’t seen more about this in the media coverage or even on the VANOC website.

You can read more about this on Bloomberg. You can also take a look at all of the past Olympic medals at the IOC site.

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