PCM Wk 9 Final: System Plan, Timeline, Materials

Solar Energy Learning Table


I aim to create an interactive learning table that explains how solar panels work and how energy is converted into electricity.

Specific Points to Communicate:

Main objective: Learn about the science of solar cells and how it can impact our lives if we incorporate it into our lifestyle.

1.) Science of solar cells: how light is turned into electrical energy through the use of semiconductors.

2.) Prove that solar energy can impact our lives by symbolically showing how much energy a rooftop solar panel will generate for a small size house.

3.) Show the effect of light on solar cells by altering the intensity of light through polarizing  filters and rotation of light. Show schematic of what happens scientifically when light hits the cell.

4.) Provide a thought experiment: what if the sun were red, green, blue, purple? Which color would give the most or least amount of energy?

5.) Show the way battery storage works and how solar panels can still run even when there is not sun. This will be achieved by having a battery icon that users can select to power the house even when there is no light that shines.


solar display diagram


b.) Timeline:

Week 9 (10/31/18 – 11/07/18):
–  continue user interviews, gathering info, and experimenting (PCM)
–  run light + filter experiments (PCM)
–  finalize content (what I want to communicate) (ICM)

Week 10 (11/7/18 – 11/14/18):
–  build the circuit and connect with p5js sketch(PCM)
–  prototype fabrication of display (PCM)
–  finalize idea and design of display (PCM)
–  finalize content, design and UI of website (ICM)

Week 11 (11/14/18 – 11/21/18): 
– combine fabrication, circuit and website (PCM)
– continue fabrication (PCM)
– continue programming the website (ICM)

Week 12 (11/21/18 – 11/28/18): 
– combine final components – finish! (PCM)
– finish the website (ICM)

Week 13 (11/28/18 – 12/05/18):
– final
– user testing
– tweaks based on user testing

Week 14 (12/05/18 – 12/12/18):
– final final
– documentation



c.) Materials:
(More details will be added)

  • cardboard for prototyping
  • wood (still need to figure out which kind)
  • polarizing filters
  • color filters
  • white LED light source
  • 2 or 4 solar panels
  • led light (for lamp inside house)
  • dc motor (for fan inside house)
  • iPad