The Local Projects branch of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) at the University of Washington will design and construct a series of eight phone charging stations powered by entirely by solar energy. Once construction is complete, these stations will be implemented throughout the University of Washington Seattle campus, in locations such as Husky Stadium and Rainier Vista for public use. The goal of this project is to normalize the presence of clean, renewable technology in the community, and prompt a broader discussion about how and where sustainable practices and technology can be implemented more widely.
The first part of the project will be a research and design phase. Our team will begin by drawing a design of the system with dimensions section-by-section. There will be two main designs: the first being an electric system consisting of a battery, a solar panel, and a charge controller to regulate the amount of charge for students phones to work properly, the other of the station itself, consisting of a locking metal box to enclose the electric system, with the solar panel on top, which will be covered by weatherproofing. Once our team and mentors (mentors consisting of Rebecca Neumann and Faisal Hossain) have approved the design we will move onto development. We want to make the most efficient, viable design possible. Therefore, we will build our first unit and run tests to make sure it works. Once that is completed, we will implement the first unit on campus to gather data on use and effectiveness. This will help us determine where to build the next stations so they will be most useful and effective. This information, along with discussions between us and campus entities described in project approval, will help us to find the most viable on campus locations. If all works out, we hope to explore shipping out our design to even greater horizons such as refugee camps or disadvantaged communities around the world.