After a summer of the trials and tribulations of missing and broken parts, weather variation and general malfunctions, we are thrilled to announce that we have a functioning prototype!
The basic frame holds eight solar panels connected in parallel which are connected to the solar charge controller. This charges the battery to power the electrolyzer, splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen which bubble up through transparent tubes. Jose, Alex and Monifa worked hard to get this prototype up and running, with thanks to Simon for building the frame. Here they are to explain more (over the windy rooftop!)
We are now hoping to integrate extra components into the basic prototype, such as ways of recording power output and gas release rates.
Our design company, DEDass, have come up with some fantastic ideas for the main frame, using inspiration from robots, plant structures and patterns in nature. Now that they can see what needs to happen from a practical point of view from our prototype, they can start to build models of their designs to see how RoboPlant will look.
Plans for RoboPlant’s big reveal at the Sheffield University School Christmastime Lecture are coming together, and I am finding some great locations and events for RoboPlant to visit when finished. With the deadline getting closer, we are relieved that our basic idea to replicate the first stage of photosynthesis has worked!
Image from http://hereberobots.com/