UBC Undergraduate Research

Phase Two Mobile² : Final Report Anderson, Lauren; Cai, Zhuheng; Chung, Jocelyn; Tseng, Wen-ding; Yap, Nicholas


U-Square Mobile is a sustainability project proposed by AMS Sustainability and SEEDS. It’s meant to highlight the possibilities and limitations of wind energy as an alternative source of energy in light of the increasing effects of climate change. As a prominent structure in a high traffic area on campus, it serves as both an artistic structure while providing a starting point for conversation about sustainability amongst the public. This is Phase 2 of the project, and this year, the focus was to design and develop the artistic and interactive element of the structure. The design objectives for this project were to design and build an aesthetically pleasing structure, capture wind energy, educate the user about alternative energy, and maintain its functionality in all weather. The project deliverables designed by the team were the headpiece and user interaction subsystems. The headpiece consists of an off-the-shelf vertical axis wind turbine and rotating artistic beams mounted to the top of the structure. Through mathematical models, the material and sizing of the headpiece was completed to design the system with sufficient safety factors. The user interaction system consists of a display board, a hand crank. The display board contains a message about wind energy, power generation information, and local weather information. The power generation portion compares the power generated by the wind turbine and the user with power consumption of typical household electronics. The user interacts with the structure by turning the hand crank to generate power, and through gesture controls in front of the display board to display weather information such as temperature and humidity. Analyses and tests were done to determine the optimal dimensions for the hand crank and system functionality of the user interaction interface. Due to funding constraints, the project could not reach the level of completion originally intended. The delays that arose from this hampered the design and construction phase, leaving several components at the virtual model stage. This influenced the difficulty in designing the electrical system where more robust testing and testing for full functionality were unfeasible. Upon reflection, knowing the state of funding earlier and a more definitive deliverable would have made the project run more smoothly with less compromises. If this project were to be done again, the team would ensure that the client had a concrete and prioritized list of deliverables and evaluate that list as a team to determine the feasibility of completion. The recommendations to the client are in regards to the project’s next steps: the structure design should be finalized with confirmed pricing, the selected wind turbine should be purchased, the headpiece should be fabricated at a welding shop, a date for structure installation should be decided, and a Phase 3 should be proposed to electrical engineering capstone groups. There is significant work remaining for the electrical system which the team believes would be better handled by an electrical engineering capstone group. These recommendations assume that the available funding is enough to cover all costs. If this is not the case, and the funding is insufficient, we recommend not proceeding with the project further. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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