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Meet The Penn State Student Sharing His Inventions With The World

In a university setting as big as Penn State’s, you’re destined to find some great minds that have done some incredible things.

One of those minds belongs to Alessandro Placitelli, an electrical engineering major who creates really cool inventions and gadgets and shares them on his Instagram account, “Placitech_”.

Placitelli, a junior, started the page in October and has shown off some really cool creations, such as a smartwatch and a security system. He originally starting posting his creations on his personal Instagram account but saw the opportunity to share them with others.

“I thought that maybe some people can see it and they might think they’re cool, maybe I can get recruiters from companies to look at them because my personal page is private,” Placitelli said. “More people could see [my creations], I could reach out to more people, maybe inspire others to do projects or maybe get other people to work with me.”

Placitelli said that he hopes to one day own his own company, and Placitech is the starting foundation of his goal, as he is currently working on trademarks for the Placitech name. He thought that starting the brand and this page would help him get the idea and his goals underway.

Since he was young, Placitelli said he’s loved technology and advancements in the field. But he noted that he didn’t really start building more advanced projects until the beginning of quarantine last March.

“After I noticed that I could build anything that I could come up with in my mind, I said, ‘You know, I want to keep doing it because I actually enjoy doing it,'” he said. “I’ve known since I was a child that I was meant to be an electrical engineer.”

Placitelli said that when he learned how to use micro-controllers, which he described as “small computers,” his projects started to grow and his design philosophy changed over time. For example, his first invention on the page, a security system, looks much different from his most recent project posted, which is something he calls “Project Home.”

Placitelli said that building his own projects has taught him a lot about electrical engineering as well.

“I’ve learned so much from doing these projects like stuff I had no idea I could, stuff I didn’t learn in any class,” Placitelli said. “Classes give you more of a theoretical background, and even now when we don’t have any labs because of COVID, I don’t think we get that much in terms of hands-on experience.”

Placitelli does all the video production for his videos himself and shared that when he was younger, he used to have a YouTube channel about video games. That channel is where he learned the basics of editing and recording, though he humorously said that he wouldn’t call himself a professional in the area.

As he continues to grow in his craft and his Instagram following starts to get bigger with each new project, Placitelli continues to work toward one of his biggest and most ambitious goals, though he said he won’t be able to start the project until he makes more money after college and cutting edge technology is invented.

What’s this project, you might ask?

“If I could, I’d like to build my own exoskeleton, something like Iron Man,” he said while pointing to the Iron Man poster in his bedroom. “Even if I don’t have the power source, I feel like it would be so cool.”

Placitelli also shared that he plans on working on a project over the summer that he can manufacture and, hopefully, sell, giving him more of a foundation to launch his own company after his graduation. He said that it probably would be something that was wearable, like the smartwatch he built.

When deciding on what to do next, Placitelli looks at a note of ideas he keeps on his cell phone. When he’s finished a project, he looks and sees what’s on the list and continues onto his next creation. He said his next project is going to be a safe or a strongbox, which he originally started making due to a class assignment. He’s also working on a second version of his smartwatch.

As our conversation came to a close, Placitelli left us with some words of wisdom.

“If you’re someone who likes technology or creates new things in any major beyond engineering, you should try to do things yourself,” he said. “I think you should try to go even broader than what your professors tell you to do because that’s how you learn in life. If you only go to classes and do homework, you’re not going to be as good of an engineer than if you actually do things.”

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About the Author

Charles Reinert

Charles Reinert is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. He's from Norristown, PA and enjoys a good slice of pepperoni pizza and a brisk fall afternoon. He can be found either yelling at the Eagles through the TV during football season or playing his guitar. If you have any questions for him or want to challenge him to a 1v1 on the basketball court, you can follow him on Twitter @charles_rein10 or email him at [email protected]

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