Final project grading rubric

Your final project is graded out of 35 points and counts towards 35% of your final grade:

  • 4 points – brainstorming
    • your 30 ideas & post-its brought to class
  • 6 points – project pitch
    • clear and convincing write-up and in-class pitch of your idea
  • 3 points – project status update
    • you posted your status update to the class blog
  • 4 points – project concept
    • new interesting, creative concept
    • concept does not replicate what has been done by others
    • concept is inspired by something in the real world
    • concept is relevant to the theme of heat
  • 2 points – mastery of class material
    • project references citizen science concepts from this class
    • project is appropriate for your skill level
  • 1 point – external skills or concepts
    • project incorporates something we did not learn in class
  • 8 points – project demo Dec 1
    • the extent to which the project actually works during the demo session
    • how polished your demo is visually
  • 8 points – project documentation and write-up Due Dec 8
    • clearly shows the design rationale, process, and iteration
    • clearly shows how your project was made (diagram, parts list, materials used)

If you want to be included as a co-author on the DIS submission, please also email me a 3 paragraph academic-style writeup by Tuesday, Dec 8. The paragraphs should be:

  • your motivation (why you chose your topic and what your goals were)
  • your process (how you did what you did, your materials, iterations, etc.)
  • your outcomes (what you achieved and how this contributes new academic knowledge)



Status Update: Solar Cooker

Here’s what I’ve been up to.

  1. Researching can-openers


  2. Cutting cans – lots of them


  3. Flattening the sheets or trying to. The ten inch can needed more work. I will need to extend the tin panels further by at least five inches on one side to make use of angular sunlight.


4. This is what my collection looks like now

2015-11-17 08.47.24

5. An unanticipated problem – the broken umbrella is not broken enough. The metal rod is at the focal point and needs to be removed. This is proving to be more difficult than I had anticipated and I gave up trying. The new plan – make a sheet of reflective metal from soda cans and duct tape and cut it in the shape of an umbrella.

2015-11-17 08.41.17

6. The plan for the third cooker had to be changed as well. Instead of a trough like cooker I will now make one out of a shallow cardboard box and mirrors.

Fingers crossed!


final project status update: Shading

My original project plan was to construct a scale model of a light-sensing umbrella that could change position to protect a particular location from the sun, no matter what the time of day. This type of technology is particularly necessary in locations like Phoenix, which are extremely dry (unlike more humid locations, temperature in and out of direct sunlight can be vastly different) and flat (the lack of hilly, mountainous terrain means that there is nothing blocking the setting or rising sun).

At the beginning, I did some work getting input from light sensors and using that as output for arduino servos. I’ve done some research on what type of mount would be best (Josh helped me due to his familiarity with telescopes, which use similar tech), but we determined that, for the price and scale we are using, it would be best for me to request a simple “pan and tilt” system, which, while being less smooth in it’s transition, also costs significantly less and is easier to acquire.

Pics: wiring, code

2015-11-05 11.56.50.jpg2015-11-02 17.19.42.jpg

Pics: some sketches of what finished design would look like using different types of mounts

While using electronics has been a great personal challenge and has allowed me to expand out of my comfort zone, I did feel that the thing I was making was not particularly impressive on the scale of “improving human-heat interactions”.

So, I have tried to design several different examples of how this tech could be used for different outdoor situations.

Pics: For starters, I imagined the simple umbrella sculpture being scaled up. In addition to the possibility of it wacking somebody on the head, there is a significant risk that, when the umbrella is relatively low to the ground, rambunctious youngsters will try to climb onto it, which could cause a serious safety hazard.

Instead, we will be trying to design alternative ways of implementing this technology while reducing risk of lawsuits

Pics: Sketches of how the lighting works in the public areas outside the Memorial Union. Very nice around noon, but the shading falters as the sun lowers in the sky

Pics. One alternative: By having the tarp (or series of solar panels) move with the sun, you get greater energy input and protect the seating-and-working area from become too hot or bright. This would also work well for sport-fields, since the only poles are in the four corners of the structure. Also, since most sports teams practice in the evening (after class, less heat) being able to block the setting sun would be immensely helpful in not blinding athletes as they are try to play sports.

*This system works best in places like Arizona, which are *relatively* closer to the equator, since the angle of the sun will not change as much through different seasons. A more advanced version of this structure could have the two loops that the tarp is connected to actually bend to account for the changing angle of the sun’s ascension.

Pics: Lilypads. This is my personal favorite idea from an aesthetic standpoint, which uses green-blue tarps to protect the area below from the sun. It will both shade the students and given them a sense of a watery-area, without actually having to use water for decoration.

Pics: Personal shade. By using a series of these shaders around tables, it gives students a sense of coolness with additional privacy (at least at sunrise and sunset). Could be used around tables or Greek amphitheater-type seating.

Pics: This is another option that could work for a sports area, as it leave a large area open in the center. A dome composed of a series of geometric shapes, with tarps that can be stretched tightly or loosened over them based on the position of the sun. (because sports people are especially rambunctious, the structure would need to be 12 feet vertical at the bottom, to prevent people climbing on it like a giant jungle gym. This, unfortunately would mean that protection from the setting sun is limited (though an additional tarp could be lowered down the side at that time). On the other hand, some students might enjoy a gigantic jungle gym.

Going forward, I want to create more detailed drawings (and probably at least a few animations) of how these ideas would work. Based on that, it seems that the bulk of my project, while centering on the same concept of shade and moving sun protection, has significantly shifted from a construction focus to a design focus.

Final project status update

Post an update about the progress of your final project. Include the following:

  • Quick reminder summary of what your project is (1-2 sentences)
  • Components status (whether you are still waiting on any parts or if you have everything you need)
  • A picture and description of what you have created so far
  • Describe any changes you made to your project since the proposal
  • Describe any challenges or problems you are having

Post your project update to the class blog.

This assignment is worth 3 points
1 point for project summary and components status
1 point for a picture and description of what you have created so far
1 point for describing your project challenges and whether/how your idea changed since your proposal