Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Big Idea About Kinetic Energy

Abby Cohen of Uncharted Play came by Tuesday afternoon to discuss The Soccket. The Soccket is a soccer ball that converts the kinetic energy of play into electrical energy--enough to power an LED lamp for a few hours or charge a cell phone, a big idea intended to transform access to electricity in resource-poor communities in the developing world.  Here, Abby explains the engineering and design process that improved the Soccket's electricity generating gyroscope.

Building on the morning's activity creating circuits and learning the basics of electricity, and Abby's great talk, we broke into groups to brainstorm ideas and design the systems for smart cities to capture the kinetic energy expended by everyday urban living.

Students took the basic science and engineering concepts that created a big idea to make change in the developing world and applied creativity, imagination and some good thinking: turbines in storm drains capturing energy from flowing rain water; sidewalks with pressure sensors converting energy from thousands walking; trains and track that use mechanical systems to capture the kinetic bump-rock-bump (repeat) of a typical subway ride.

Presenting ideas and project drawings!

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