The inspiration to create came in the first grade for UNH sophomore computer science major Arthur Aznive Jr. The Concord native saw a plaque for an inventor’s challenge, and knew he wanted to enter. Aznive thought getting his name on the plaque would make him an inventor, like Thomas Edison, so he built a robotic vacuum.
The contraption “was pretty bad,” Aznive said. “I took a vacuum cleaner, and I put it on a block of wood, and I got some motors from a robotics set… I put this small handheld vacuum cleaner on this block with wheels and a coaster, and it barely moved. It was a good time.”
Aznive laughed at that remark, his hair bobbed and his square-framed glasses shifted slightly. He didn’t get his name on the plaque for that robotic vacuum but has been creating on and off since then, whenever he gets a chance or a spark of inspiration.
“If something can be improved, I am going to try to find a way to improve it,” he said.
Aznive’s creative process includes thinking for days, mulling over an idea, researching what already has been done and seeing if he can fill in where something is lacking.
So far, his projects have been heavily influenced by his education, and he has taught himself all of the engineering and building skills he has needed in order to create such items.
“My education thus far in life has led my projects to be mainly computer based. A lot of my ideas have connections to cell phones and using small devices to create useful applications, such as…sensors using GPS functions to clean up hiking trails,” Aznive said.
Some of his creations include dice towers, board games and robots. One game, made from wood, uses a mixture of checkers and chess-like movements to move the game along. The dice towers he’s created look like castles; the dice are put on the top of the structure, and then they come out the bottom. He also made a robot to teach kids about programming.
Another one of Aznive’s inventions is what he calls a “Google Glass knockoff,” which is a small computer monitor that attaches to one’s glasses. With this, Aznive can do things like read texts, email and look at diagrams. It took him two weeks to make the Google Glass-like device, and four months to make the game mentioned above.
He said he decides what projects to make by asking questions.
“What would be the utility divided by the current state of the art, multiplied by the people it will affect? That thought is how I would evaluate a project,” Aznive said.
Aznive plans to switch his major to mechanical engineering with a computer science minor next year. He said that coding is not his passion, but he likes building things. He said that he doesn’t know what he wants to do upon graduating, but is gaining a lot of varied experiences now.
Aznive said he considers himself to be a local Maker. Once he heard about the Maker Movement, he knew he identified with its culture.
“The Maker Movement is a group of independent inventors, artists, hackers, designers and tinkerers, who are all self-motivated to create and bring to light their ideas for a better future,” Aznive said. “It is all about collaboration and working together to reach heights that no one could reach on their own.”
He cited Elon Musk, Tesla, Stephen Hawking and Alan Turing as his biggest inspirations.
On campus, Aznive serves as an officer of the Meeple and Cardboard Syndicate and as resident assistant (R.A.) in Congreve Hall. He also worked as a network technician at UNH for over a year, but recently left the position to focus more on being an R.A.
“I’m a scientist, and then I’m a board gamer,” Aznive said of his interests, which also include reading, hiking and archery.
He’s currently working with a team on creating a drone that locates available parking spaces for cars. He said he finds creating to be worthwhile and has many ideas in his head, but wants his creations to be things that others can see.
“If I’m able to build or create something that other people can enjoy, that brings happiness to me because others can also gain from it,” Aznive said. “If I can benefit other people’s lives with my inventions, then I think that’s super cool,”
“There is no such thing as a bad idea,” he said, giving advice for those trying to be inventive. “Normally you can always find something useful in any idea you have, even if you don’t use it, it might inspire a project down the line. Keep notes of all your ideas, you won’t regret it.”