The Solar AstroWheel was conceptualised during a convo between a ‘flowery’ artist and a ‘functional’ engineer. Its story began by envisioning something wow-worthy yet educational. How do we teach about solar energy, the Solar System and the awesomeness of the Sun using the products we manufacture? Our name has the word ‘toy’ in it for a reason – we love to play… and play we did.
Inspired by the concept of a Ferris wheel, sketches evolved into 3D CAD drawings. Designing and building the AstroWheel was no easy task, even for savvy engineers Harald, David and Shoni. Rotating a wheel with 16 Consol Solar Jars attached to the rim in such a way that as the wheel turns, they are kept upright by gravity. With an engine powered solely by solar energy, this AstroWheel was one-of-a-kind. A sculpture in the round: free-standing with no wire cables or electricity points – just a charged solar panel and solar lights.
Being a theatre-in-a-jar, we inserted aluminium plates with Solar System facts engraved on them. Keeping the Consol Solar Jars balanced and equally weighted was tricky as we carefully poured measured cap-fulls of coloured glass beads into the jars – red for Mars and ice blue for Neptune. High school science students were truly wowed!
This year, at ScopeX Telescope and Astrology Expo, our dream became reality. The star party commenced with the lighting of red LEDs for optimal telescopic night vision. As the AstroWheel spun, observers were mesmerised.
Sometimes a team of engineers needs a ‘flowery’ artist in their midst to make the recipe work :).
Congratulations to all the science project winners of ScopeX! Enjoy using your prize Consol Solar Jar!