A solar-powered "smart" picnic table and silent solar-powered power generator are on display this week at Sonoma State University. The student projects are two of more than 100 that will be presented at the annual University Research Symposium on Wednesday, May 4, 4-6:30 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom. Both are projects of students in the Engineering Science Department and will be on display in the quad between Darwin and Stevenson halls, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Friday, May 6.
The table features a solar panel mounted atop a sturdy central post, and provides outlets for charging handheld devices and other small electronics. It has an LED light and weather sensors that can transmit data to a Web server. It was designed and built by Engineering Science students Sarah Memmet and Kyle Goshia.
The generator is similar to its noisy, polluting, gas-powered cousins, but does not require fuel other than sunlight and operates silently. It features two car batteries to store the energy captured by two large solar panels, and can generate a maximum power output of 1,100 watts. The panels are self-deploying and retracting thanks to weather and light sensors in the unit, and it transmits data to a Web server for remote monitoring using a mobile hotspot. Many of the generator's parts were made using the department's 3D printer. This is the senior project of students Blake Sack, Jarrett Baglietto and Jennifer Nunn.
Both projects have multiple commercial applications and can be built for around $1,000. Construction, including carpentry, electrical engineering and metalworking, was done entirely by students.