Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Students Follow the Light Towards Self-Sustainability

As a part of the 2008 Habana Labs workshop series, students from New York City's Little Red School House and Elizabeth Irwin High School have designed and built The Off-Grid Outlet which is a solar powered AC outlet and 12V DC power port. The Off-Grid outlet will mainly function as a charger for laptops and other portable devices in the courtyard of Brooklyn Ecoeatery, Habana Outpost where patrons will be invited to "plug into the sun" while visiting the restaurant.

The students where led by Jeff Feddersen, director of Habana Labs and Tim Cooper, an educator at Little Red School House/ Elizabeth Irwin High School. During the creation of the Off-Grid Outlet, the students discovered that following the sun is a non-trivial, real-world robotics challenge. The problem is further complicated by the particulars of the panel's ultimate location, which will only receive direct sunlight for about half the day. Using LEGO Mindstorms robotics kits, the students have been able to solve the problem and on June 11th, they plan to take it on a test drive at Habana Outpost.

Habana Works is a 501(c)(3) organization that provides free programs that educate, unite and engage community members around improving human and natural habitats. Created by artist and restaurateur Sean Meenan, these programs use art, architecture and design as tools to engage and instill a greater understanding of the community's role in the betterment of the planet. Current Programs include Urban Studio Brooklyn (USBK), Habana Labs, Kid's Corner and Garden Works.

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