Solar Computer Lab in a Box Versions 3.0 and 3.1

Over the past few months, two groups of dedicated students at IIT have donated their free time and efforts to building new prototypes of the Solar Computer Lab in a Box.

Version 3.0’s new look was the result of a design competition held in Fall, 2012, which was sponsored by IIT’s Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) student organization. The winning design, from Team Yellow Room (consisting of Sunny Patel, Manuel Leon, and Sebastian Morales) is pictured below.

solarcubed(v2) copy

This design served as the blueprint for Version 3.0, which was was built in IIT’s Idea Shop and completed in September, 2013. Pictured below (L-R) are, Abhiroop Chattopadhyay, Sunny Patel, and Brian Strening, proudly displaying of the fruits of their labors!




In the following months, ESW commissioned a new hardworking and dedicated team to build version 3.1. Some minor tweaks were made to version 3.0, because there’s always room for improvement! Many thanks go out to John Welin, (below, center) Manager at the Idea Shop, for his ongoing support, enthusiasm, training, demonstrations, etc. Another big thank you to Amanda Rapacz, from ESW, for spearheading the redesign competition and jumpstarting the rebuild teams.


The current team, hard at work finishing up the final details on Version 3.1, includes (L-R below) Matthew Troemner, Abhimanyu Pudi, and Zhe Soo.


Below are additional pictures highlighting the workmanship going in to the box building, as well as the unique features of the box. Solar panels are stored on one side, protected with heavy foam padding. Laptops or tablets are stored on the other side, in the compartment that opens and closes, allowing for safe storage of the technology when it’s not in use. There’s also a small compartment to store the table legs. Everything fits into the box that is needed to assemble and power this small computer lab, and the box itself transforms into the lab’s table.




Once Version 3.1 is finished, we’ll have two Solar Computer Lab Boxes ready to send to Chuuk, in the Federated States of Micronesia. (See these previous posts for additional info on the first deployments.) This semester’s Fieldwork Methods class is developing an Android App that will allow our on-site partners to conduct baseline site surveys on a smartphone or tablet. Our goal is that this application will be used by our partners in Chuuk, and we will be able to help them determine which schools will be the best candidates for the next Solar Computer Labs.


About ljhosman

Laura Hosman is Assistant Professor at Arizona State University. She holds a dual position in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and in The Polytechnic School.
This entry was posted in Chuuk, IIT, Micronesia, Pacific Islands, Solar Computer Lab in a Box, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Solar Computer Lab in a Box Versions 3.0 and 3.1

  1. Pingback: Solar Computer Lab in a Box Versions 3.0 and 3....

  2. bobraxton says:

    In Kenya, Njoro Town (Nakuru County) P.C.E.A. compound has an indoor computer Lab which draws electricity from the grid; however, the Orphans and Vulnerable Children coming to the Saturday enrichment program frequently live in “houses” without electricity. Similarly, in Kibwezi (Eastern County – or is it Machakos County) we took six OLPC G1 G1 “green machines” the summer of 2008. The summer of 2009 on a separate month-long trip, OLPC provided us with a hundred – most of which are still in use. In “our lifetime” will there ever be a portable computer that can also charge itself in sunlight on the equator such as in these Kenya locations?

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