After two days of intensive model making, the teams came up with three different designs which were 3D printed on-site and presented to a global audience via a video stream. The winning solution, a thermocouple brick dubbed the ‘Seebrick’, uses the Seebeck effect to generate electric power from a temperature difference. By taking advantage of waste heat from everyday cooking, for example, enough power could be generated with just six bricks and two hours of cooking to light three rooms with LEDs for a night.
The second prototype builds on IBM’s work to re-use lithium ion laptop batteries as energy storage devices, whilst a third - a simple micro-electromagnetic generator built from common waste materials such as aluminium drink cans and plastic water bottles - creates enough electricity for domestic power use via wind and water.
RS and Practical Action are now working to implement these innovations to transform the quality of life in rural communities struggling with electricity and power challenges.