i.The Creation Of The Rechargeable Solar Powered LED Bag
ii. The Creation of The Rechargable Solar Powered LED Lamp
iii. Sound Wall / Pocket Park
The Creation Of The Rechargeable Solar Powered LED Bag
This video outlines most of the steps taken to create the second version of the Rechargeable Solar Powered LED Lamp in which I outline my influence that came from my trip to Nigeria with ACRT (AIDs Crisis Response Team) and the research I did upon return. I was especially influenced by the books Design Like You Give A Damn and Design For The Other 90%. The first book is made by architecture for humanity which describes the purpose of the projects/book:
“The greatest humanitarian challenge we face today is that of providing shelter. Currently one in seven people lives in a slum or refugee camp, and more than three billion people—nearly half the world’s population—do not have access to clean water or adequate sanitation. The physical design of our homes, neighborhoods, and communities shapes every aspect of our lives. Yet too often architects are desperately needed in the places where they can least be afforded.”
The authors of Design For The Other 90%, Cooper-Hewitt, describes the meaning of their publication as:
“The majority of the world’s designers focus all their efforts on developing products and services exclusively for the richest 10% of the world’s customers. Nothing less than a revolution in design is needed to reach the other 90%.”
—Dr. Paul Polak, International Development Enterprises
The reading of these two books really got me thinking about the global impact of design and the social inequalities that exist which are rarely being exposed in as complex and explicit terms as they are in these publications. Even though the idea of helping the internationally “less fortunate” is in the mainstream media, it is not presented in a way that allows the “average” citizen to take direct action, other than sending money.
I have also had an interest in Open Source technology and ideologies. This includes component electronics like cheap and easily accessible LEDs and batteries. This also brougth me to the Arduino as I described in the Rechargeable Solar Powered LED Lamp project.
“All of this research also led me to use the Lilypad Arduino, which uses waterproof circuitry and conductive thread in order to create simple/repairable/waterproof/wearable circuits, which also encourage young children and women to get involved in electronics, especially in the type of “traditional” societies I was working in in Nigeria.”
All of this research then lead me to one of the most influential works in my project Stuart Walker’s book Sustainable by Design which focuses on several guiding principles in order to achieve more sustainable design practices. A few of these principles are:
“Sustainable product design explores reuse of materials, re-manufacturing and product longevity. If we begin to create long-lasting, but repairable and upgradeable products made from reused materials and parts, we will have to reassess our ideas of products and the value and place of the ‘new’, the glossy and the perfect. A product which bears the marks of time and use and its own history could, potentially, have a richness lacking in many of today’s squeaky-clean but rather barren products; but to appreciate this richness we will have to readjust our value system and our expectations of product aesthetics.
Inventiveness Of Necessity
Sustainability demands resourcefulness and restraint. New solutions have to be found which require less.
Improvisation And Spontaneity
The constraints of limited resources at the local level in terms of materials, processes and tools, combined with a realization that most contemporary products are actually a physical manifestation of unsustainable practices, can create a liberating environment in which to reconsider the nature of objects.
Integration Of Scales – Mass-Produced Plus Locally Made Parts
An important but little explored aspect of sustainable product design is a reassessment of our scales of production so that products can be made, repaired and reused within an industrial ecology of cyclic resource use at the local or regional level.
Elegance And Empathy Through Design
When developing products within the limitations imposed by locale, processes, techniques and human skills must be used imaginatively to convert often uninspiring or non-ideal materials into elegant forms that contribute in a positive way to our material culture.”
I then began the work on the bag in order to improve on the design of the lamp in order to create the more versatile bag. The bag can be worn during the day to charge the battery and used during the night. Each element can also be removed and repaired if needed.
The Creation of The Rechargable Solar Powered LED Lamp
Tripod footage of me helping people find the glasses the need for reading and other activities when I went to Enugu State, Nigeria with ACRT (AIDS Crisis Response Team) to participate in various humanitarian activities. This mainly included health based support, like a travelling clinic.
The process of helping over 100 people find glasses, by talking to them and letting them try several pairs, was one of the main inspirations behind my work in creating sustainable design projects that bring light to people who need it.
When I returned home I began work in my Bachelor of Fine Arts – Visual Arts program to create rechargeable solar powered LED light sources.
I found that I needed quite a bit of help in figuring out what kind of components I needed to use. I had found most of the parts, and what’s needed to get them working, on my own. This included, LEDs, solar panels, lithium-ion batteries and several other components. I was especially inspired by the writings of Stuart Walker, from his book Sustainable by Design. All of this research also led me to use the Lilypad Arduino, which uses waterproof circuitry and conductive thread in order to create simple/repairable/waterproof/wearable circuits, which also encourage young children and women to get involved in electronics, especially in the type of “traditional” societies I was working in in Nigeria.
In order to get more information on the electrical engineering side of my project I asked a friend/colleague to help me out. Bob from Windsor Starter’s Powerhouse had helped me on a couple projects when I was enrolled in the Green Corridor course at the University of Windsor. In Green Corridor, Bob supplied a portable, solar and wind rechargeable, battery based generator for the outdoor performances during the Open Corridor event on Huron Church Rd.
Bob is drawing a diagram showing how the circuit should look.
Here, he is testing the LED to see how much current is coming from the battery.
Bob is using a potentiometer (variable resistor) to figure out what resistor the LEDs will need.
We figured that the LEDs will need a 22ohms resistor in order to make sure the LEDs don’t burn out. Bob also explained to me how you read the coloured stripes on the resistor and other useful tips.
After getting the information I needed, I began constructing my circuits for the lamp. The idea for the lamp is that I will use highly efficient, low cost and readily available LEDs to create a bright light source for people who have little to no access to electricity. The lamp will be charged with solar and a battery.
I started by soldering the LEDs to the Lilypad Arduino PCB.
The 22 Ohms resistor can be seen on the right side of the circuit.
Here is the first test to make sure the connections are correct.
Then I sewed the circuit to a piece of canvas, which is a cheap and durable type of material that can also be treated to increase it’s life span, and easily changed if there is a problem or for aesthetic preference.
I used the conductive thread on the back of the canvas to make the connection to the battery.
I attached the light to the rest of the pamp which is a clothing hanger placed in plaster in a found flower pot.
I added a switch and attached the solar panel to the re-apropriated portable phone battery.
After this project, I began constructing an over the shoulder bag that houses a more powerful solar panel, a lithium-ion battery and more robust wiring.
Sound Wall / Pocket Park
To research and implement the building of a “Pocket Park” utilizing sound reducing walls, tubes, and other low-impact and sustainable building techniques. This park is a project that is intended to spark interest and questions around urban green space, the attempt to bring silence into noisy urban settings and the effects of noise found in urban areas, especially ones near busy roadways, on our health.
Analyze and assess the level of noise pollution generated by Huron Church.
Discover ways of lessening this pollution through the use of found materials to construct sustainable low-impact structures.
Give suggestions for further revisions to help continue the project and implement these designs.
(Left to Right: Gustavo Aguilar, Kevin Kaputsiak, Stephen Surlin, Gaelyn Aguilar)
“Green Corridor” Students at the University of Windsor: Stephen Surlin, Kevin Kaputsiak
Tug Collective: Gaelyn Aguilar, Gustavo Aguilar
This is time-lapse documentation of the waddle and daub process which is described below. The project was for the course Green Corridor (greencorrior.ca) at the University of Windsor in Ontario. The waddle & daub is needed to create “sound walls” that can muffle the sound of the NAFTA super highway, Huron Church Road, that is right behind my school and is also the busiest border crossing in Canada with millions of trucks traversing the border each year.
The construction of the sound wall needed to address the amount of sound that can be absorbed or
reflected by each building method. The density of the material is important, especially to reduce the
amount of low-frequency noise.
Based on the research inspired by Tug Collective we were able to focus on low-impact and sustainable
design. The publications, Design Like You Give A Damn and Design For The Other 90%. These
publications focus on the use of local materials and building techniques. These ideologies mixed with
the use of the pallets will hopefully begin a dialogue with the public and concepts that correspond with
global trade, shelter, the use of materials and the correlation between design and the state of citizens
around the world, all concepts that are becoming more and more important as “Free Trade” and
globalization continue to bring distant places into an interlocking network.
After we moved through several stages of research we came to a method referred to as wattle and daub,
a medieval building method used to build houses in regions across Europe. Wattle refers to the weaving
of branch like materials between posts, this structure is then covered in daub, which is a mixture of
clay, sand, straw and water. This mixture is then mixed with shovels and by walking all over it, as it
was done back in the 1500s, then straw is added to the mixture in order to make it strong and sticky
enough to put it on the waddle.
Analysis 1 – Various recordings of the surrounding areas.
Analysis 2 – Recording in front and behind wall to determine change.
Click on the picture to the left to view and/or download the PDF version of the “Sound Wall – Pocket Park Legacy Report“. A document we are required to complete at the end of our course in Green Corridor.