Friday, May 1, 2015

Shams Generation

Shams Generation is an educational initiative that combines art and solar power.  Qatar Solar Technologies in Doha, Qatar is driving this educational initiative to promote solar power in the Middle East and to educate and inspire the next generation of creatives in this field. I have been involved with this project for the past year and have served as a Solar Design Education Specialist, mainly developing curriculum and presenting workshops to teach technical methods to make interactive solar art. Nacho Zamora is the project leader and his work has been instrumental in the promotion of solar art and design in the public realm.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Ingenuity Fest 2014

Kinetic Bonfire is a bicycle powered interactive sculpture and premiered at Ingenuity Fest in Cleveland this year! Six bicycles drive small motors which generate power for the system. Each bicycle has an Arduino that monitors wheel speed and allows participants to control the intensity and movement of the lights depending on how fast they peddle.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Solar Flowers at Prairie Green

Last week we had the great experience of doing a solar flower workshop with students at Prairie Green School just outside of Iowa City, IA. When I think of an inspiring place for kids to be excited about learning, this place is the epitome of all my wildest dreams- small class size, inspiring creativity and curiosity, connection to nature, focus on sustainability... Prairie Green, you are awesome!  Thanks for having us!


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Art & Engineering

Over the past ten years I have taught many variations of this Art & Engineering class, in various locations. It has always been inspiring for me to teach, and this class is one of my favorites due to the interdisciplinary nature of the students and the wide range of possibilities that result in finished projects at the end of the semester. This semester the students were given the specific task of making a sculpture that somehow visualized air quality and conveyed that clearly to the general public. The image here shows their tree sculpture made out of electrical conduit. Each of the leaves has an RGB led inside which changes color from green to red based on air quality with red being poor air quality. There are two sensor modules reading carbon monoxide, ozone, and sulfur dioxide. Each module is controlled with an Arduino Yun which allows the sensors to be placed in different locations. The Yuns send data over wifi to Google Docs and the Yun at the tree pulls down data and determines the relative led color for the tree. There is also an interactive survey on a small monitor run by Raspberry Pi. The survey asks you questions about your energy use and displays a result based on how your habits effect air quality.
Video to come.....

Congratulations to an awesome team: Felipe De Alcantara, Ali Omidfar, Nick Schmidt, Corey Mattes, Chrissy Cooper, Alex Young, and Jonathan Waller 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Evening at the Ecopolis: Jeff Biggers

I had the great fortune to meet Jeff Biggers recently, and was even more elated after experiencing Evening at the Ecopolis, a poetic telling of Biggers' vision of the future and how Iowa City became a model for Regenerative Cities. The piece was mainly a monologue by Biggers in four acts with the Awful Purdies playing music in between acts. It was really powerful and a great reminder of how important all of us are as active agents in determining the future of our world. There is a full write up at Little Village Magazine.

Thanks Jeff!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

After Trillium: Solar Powered Robotic Sculpture

I've recently installed After Trillium, a solar powered robotic sculpture inspired by the Iowa native Trillium flower. The sculpture is made of cast aluminum and kiln-formed glass and uses custom electronics to respond to changes in the local environment. The flower opens each morning and closes each night and is illuminated from within for 4hrs after dusk.  The main environmental response is determined by temperature, which controls how far the flower opens each day. In winter, when the temperature is below freezing, the flower remains in a dormant stage and does not open. Through the warmer months, the flower opens more and more each day until it is in full bloom during the hottest part of summer. I see this sculpture as a bridge between technology and nature and something that makes a direct correlation between a physical form and unseen forces in nature. After Trillium was commissioned for the Iowa River Landing Wetlands Park in Coralville, Iowa and was inspired by the poem Arboretum by Iowa author Mark Levine.