Oakland Tech 10th Grader Jack Li has a fertile imagination and exactly the kind of thinking needed for the Chabot Space & Science Center's Green Machine Design Challenge.
The new initiative at Chabot challenges visitors to imagine new technologies that improve the environment.
Visitors sketch out their designs on graph paper and submit them for consideration. Museum staff then review all submissions, choosing some to be featured in Bill Nye's Climate Lab, the museum's top floor exhibit.
Li's design, called the "Raindrop EcoSpider," is a fire hydrant sized, solar powered, robotic device that would collect garbage from city streets and turn it into energy.
According to Li, "It's a weird design incorporating hyper absorbent solar panels and the trash eaters on the bottom that convert energy for a battery. It's a robot inside a robot--I envisioned it as running on high-level artificial intelligence, so no human needs to power this machine."
Chabot's staff selected Li's design to be transformed into a 3D model to inspire others. Artist Benjamin Carpenter of Backbone Fabrication was chosen for the task of building the model.
Carpenter drew inspiration from the overall shape of the invention: "The body has these smooth lines, like a teardrop, it was an interesting form. The insectoid, the spidery legs... it was attractive, it appealed to my sci-fi interest. The drawing represents the legs as being really angular. They are sharp and pointy. When I thought about it, how it would move, if it were real, if it weren't a fictional thing, I saw the legs being more flexible like a mechanical octopus."
Details about Chabot Space & Science Center and the new Green Machine Design Challenge can be found here: http://www.chabotspace.org/assets/visit-the-center/exhibits/bill-nye/design-challenge-flyer.pdf