Friday, May 28, 2010

Conceptualizing the YouCharge - Solar + Bike powered Charging Station

Last night Derek and I put our heads together and finally came up with costing and timing for the human powered mobile device charging station, temporarily dubbed YouCharge (uCharge , iCharge and WeCharge are also feasible). We decided that we can't rely on people to keep our battery filled and a set of solar panels was added.

I provided basic system design in terms of major components required and Derek did some skillful spreadsheet manipulation and timing estimates. Overall we came in just over the small grant threshold. The station will sit somewhere in Rundle Mall and attract people with energy conserving bright colours (as opposed to music and flashing lights) and possibly sweaty gym rats. There will be opportunities to competitively sustain high power generation ( high scores) and have live competitions as a spectacle sport. The data from the generator output, battery charge levels and devices being charged will be logged using an arduino + embedded linux ( let us say hawkboard). This data stream will be published live via city lan and visible  to all.

We are not breaking fresh ground here. Suitable machines in hongkong gym were converted to produce electricity. ABC had a show on PedalPower. In China outdoor gyms with free excercise equipment abound. May be Adelaide can slowly switch from energy hungry fitness facilities to energy producing ones. Adelaide Hackerspace will lead the system integration and we should be ready for the Format Festival next year.

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