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Category archive for: energy

energy / final proposal

Living Things  – plant sculptures shaped and powered by the wind

“Podran cortar todas las flores pero, no podran detener la Primavera”

( You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming.) – Pablo Neruda

New York is a very windy city due to its grid based urban planning. There is a new urban design wave of making big cities more green. Around big cities you can see signs of “nature resistance”, in which trees invade the pavement.


In Brazil, there is a famous tree on the northeast coast called Arvore da Preguiça (Lazy Tree), that due to the strong wind current was shaped by it – for some people, it’s lonely existence represents resistance. The installation is using the poetic idea of resistance by putting a plant through a wind “stress” situation and despite all of it, it is still there alive and growing.


/the plant sculpture

Acrylic box(es, if feasible) with four covered wholes on its sides. Inside it, there is a plant. Using the power of the wind those wholes will be open or closed; what will define which wholes are being opened is the wind direction. I’d like to place them outdoors, in the corner of a building’s balcony.


open question should I place the box in some corner outdoors or should I simulate the wind indoors? (outdoors I could just put the plant that the would do the job?)

/ material list

Motors (probably DC or Servo)
Wind Power Collector (?)

/ project development chronogram

3/24 to 3/31 – refining concept and updating material list (choosing which plant I’ll use)

3/31 to 4/7 – wind power tests

4/7 to 4/14 – motors and mechanisms

4/14 to 4/21 – mechanisms and fabrication

4/21 to 4/28 – putting it together

4/28 to 5/5 –  finalizing boxes

/ references

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energy / solar energy

for this week’s assignment we had to build a solar powered robot. I’ve partnered with Yuan and we decided to do pedaling legs. Here’s is the second part of the documentation – the first part you can find on his blog post.


once we had the circuit to work, we started working on the fabrication / mechanisms of the pedaling legs. after looking into legs animations and mechanisms references (specially ), we were able to make a first prototype of the legs:



then we went to the final version. the problem was that we didnt think that the materials would be too much weight over the gear and therefore, when we tested the final version, it just twitched instead of making the full turn. But the motor was definitely doing the turn if we used something light like paper of felt:


and these are the values we got when we charged the capacitor on a sunny day with the PV cell:

capacitor: 4700 microfarads
energy storage capacitance: 0.36895 joules
timing capacitance: 4.7 microfarads
solar configuration: 02 PV panels in parallel
triggering voltage: 0.0781 V
power : 0.07379 watts

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