A Bicycle for a better World – Success Story #001 is online!

written by Eva-Maria Hollauf, Salzburg Research

5 kids, a bicycle, a tree, water and Wifi. How to make the world a little bit better with this combination? Keep reading this success story if you want to know!

During a hackathon in Germany in 2015, a group of 4 girls and 3 boys had two questions: How can we get people to do more for their environment? And what can I do when my mobile data volume is used up soon?  One simple solution: They built a miniature model of a bicycle that provides water for a tree and free Wifi for the citizens.  When someone pedals, a dynamo produces electricity for a pump that waters the tree and the WLAN router of the Wifi. When the tree has enough water, the pump stops, but the Wifi continues to run. For the model, they used Lego Mindstorm and a Arduino Uno.

Just one year later, the idea became reality: The team of TreeFi was invited to realize their prototype at the DGB Bildungswerk in Hattingen (Germany). There were some stumbling blocks to overcome during the construction: They had to build an improvised pump, a rain barrel with a spout, which can be opened and closed by turning the bicycle handlebar. Moreover, the Wifi router needed more power than expected. Here too, the children found a solution: A second battery was installed so that more electricity could be stored.

An additional idea of the kids: If you do not feel like cycling, you can sit on a swing that is attached to the tree. This works like a wave power plant that generates and stores electricity. This swing has not been realised, but was part of the miniature model.

As the example of TreeFi shows, it is not difficult to make a good idea come true.

Sources:

CC BY 4.0 DOIT, http://DOIT-Europe.Net, H2020-770063

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