News Modular 'Pi-Tops' Raise Safety Concerns After Student 'Burns' Finger

bit_user

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Meh, any burn not requiring an ER visit isn't worth writing about. Sure, if there's not a cover where there should be, then a routine design tweak would be warranted, but this sounds like a whole lot of fuss over basically nothing. I mean, what's next: they ban hammers from wood working class when a student misses a nail and bashes their thumb?

IMO, this is a great, teachable moment. You get to explain to students exactly what a short circuit is, and why it caused the metal to heat up like that.
 
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USAFRet

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"The user dropped a piece of metal, with a specific size and shape, under the unit. This fell in such a way that it touched a particular pin and caused a linear regulator to heat up. They received a small minor burn to the tip of one finger when they tried to recover that piece of metal.” "

A piece of metal, placed on two electrical contacts, can get hot.
News at 11 !
 
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DavidC1

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This is so stupid. There's a limit to how simple you can teach complex subjects such as electronics. Sometimes students need to be subject to hard work, and the information delivered shouldn't be diluted.
 
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"The user dropped a piece of metal, with a specific size and shape, under the unit. This fell in such a way that it touched a particular pin and caused a linear regulator to heat up. They received a small minor burn to the tip of one finger when they tried to recover that piece of metal.” "
Typically a linear regulator can actually be quite hot (which is why a substantial heatsink is usually required, either using the PCB itself or a dedicated heatsink). If that "piece of metal" caused the linear regulator to heat up, then likely a short circuit to the GND. However linear regulators usually have overcurrent or short circuit protection, which it should shutdown in case of a short circuit.

A piece of metal, placed on two electrical contacts, can get hot.
News at 11 !
Well, only if there is a large current flowing through it (such as from a short circuit). Anyway, the heatsink tab on the linear regulators can become so hot that its usually not touchable (by human fingers).
 
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USAFRet

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Isn't Cornell Tech an engineering college? This student was probably in their 20s. : P
You're thinking of Cornell University.

Cornell Tech is completely different


And this Pi laptop thing is aimed at little kids...elementary school age.
I would guess no older than 11.
 
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You're thinking of Cornell University.

Cornell Tech is completely different

And this Pi laptop thing is aimed at little kids...elementary school age.
I would guess no older than 11.
"Cornell Tech is a technology, business, law, and design campus located on Roosevelt Island in Manhattan, New York City."

So, are these 11-year olds studying business and law on an island in the middle of New York City? : P This is in fact a recently opened graduate school operated by Cornell University. It looks like they do have a program where kids from area schools can come in for the day to learn about coding though, so it's possible that it may have been a younger student. The article was a bit light on details about that though.
 

USAFRet

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"Cornell Tech is a technology, business, law, and design campus located on Roosevelt Island in Manhattan, New York City."

So, are these 11-year olds studying business and law on an island in the middle of New York City? : P This is in fact a recently opened graduate school operated by Cornell University. It looks like they do have a program where kids from area schools can come in for the day to learn about coding though, so it's possible that it may have been a younger student. The article was a bit light on details about that though.
Collaboration between the college and the kids school.

Also light on the level of "burn".
Was it "ouch thats hot", or was it actual scorched skin? I'm thinking the former.
But then once it goes to the school nurse to check out...articles like this. "OMG! Burn!"

The Pi-Top is specifically aimed at younger STEM students.
 

bit_user

Splendid
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Also light on the level of "burn".
Was it "ouch thats hot", or was it actual scorched skin? I'm thinking the former.
But then once it goes to the school nurse to check out...articles like this. "OMG! Burn!"
The article said:
a "very nasty finger burn." A nurse was called on to investigate the injury, which left the student with redness on the affected finger
As I said before, if it didn't require an ER visit (much less even leave a blister). then it really doesn't merit a story.

You have to wonder whether such a school has any cooking classes, due to the risk of a student getting burnt. Chemistry labs would be strictly out. Probably can't dissect any worms either, in case a student cuts itself.
 
Aug 6, 2019
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The article said:

As I said before, if it didn't require an ER visit (much less even leave a blister). then it really doesn't merit a story.

You have to wonder whether such a school has any cooking classes, due to the risk of a student getting burnt. Chemistry labs would be strictly out. Probably can't dissect any worms either, in case a student cuts itself.
I agree with you entirely. A very nasty finger burn would be second or third degree, but redness? A kid could get that from slamming the laptop on their finger or sucking their thumb.
The kid was fishing for a piece of metal that was against an electrical contact... Who would they blame if he stuck a fork in an electrical socket?

This is definitely one of those "teachable moments" like you mentioned, and going forward they need to promote electrical safety before entrusting kids with actual electronics.

Absolutely ridiculous. Then again, this is a society where we need the word "HOT" on a coffee cup to enforce the notion that our HOT coffee is indeed warmer than ambient.
 
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