Moonshot - Barkley Labs

Decommissioning the Sun Pavilion

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The World’s Fairs exhibit has wrapped up at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. The closing of the exhibition also meant the end of the Sun Pavilion on the front lawn of the museum. It was the intention of the Sun Pavilion’s creators that all the materials that made up the structure would be reused or repurposed. Our human-powered generator was no exception.

While construction crews began to take down the solar panels and disassemble all the scaffolding, the Moonshot team was busy uninstalling the generator.

We were impressed that our hardware and software survived over 14,000 uses over five months. The hand crank was a little worse for wear, but we intend to find a new use for it. Maybe in the Barkley gym? The laptop that was hidden in the box and the Phidgets sensors performed really well. We’ll be able to dust them off, clean them up and reuse them in future projects.

This project was a great chance for us to get more experience in creating and maintaining long-term public installations. Here are just a few of the key learnings we’re taking away from this project.

  • The space we had this installed in was partially climate controlled, but we still had dust and moisture to worry about.
  • Beware of sparks! To measure the output of the solar panels, we had to wire hot wires from the panels into our sensors.
  • When you challenge Kansas Citians to crank as fast as they can, they will take that challenge seriously. We had to revise the on-screen interface to accomodate triple-digit figures that we thought were impossible!
  • Being able to remotely access the laptop that was running the installation was extremely valuable in catching and diagnosing problems.

And finally, a snapshot of the data we captured during the exhibition.

  • 14,172 total uses
  • 59.05 total hours of cranking
  • 2613.59 total watt-hours of energy produced. To put that in context, that’s enough energy to power an average American home for two hours.
  • 44.3 watts of average energy produced by each visitor.