By now, we're all quite familiar with solar power, but an innovative microcomputer-powered robot wants to help you see the sun in a new light.
Developed by Italian startup Solenica, SunnyBot is about the size of a large desk lamp and is equipped with an on-board mirror that continuously adjusts to reflect the sun's rays on a chosen area. The idea is to exploit sunlight and recycle it as a light source for otherwise gloomy rooms, or to reflect the sun's heat to warm that room, heat a swimming pool or nurture indoor plants. It's actually not much bigger than a cable dish satellite and works in much the same way. Only instead of beaming hundreds of television channels into your home, it beams sunlight.
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SunnyBot is integrated with a dual-axis microcomputer that's powered by a row of solar cells and comes with an optional feedback system. The device redirects 7,000 lumens (equal to a single 500 watt halogen lamp) with a range at just over 656 feet.
In theory, the light-beaming bot is a novel idea, but there are some dim spots, namely that the device needs to be positioned in a place with constant sun light. That might not be a problem for people with skylights and floor-to-ceiling, southern-exposed windows - at least us in the northern hemisphere. But for those of us without those amenities, SunnyBot might collect more dust than it reflects sunlight. Then again, with a range longer than two-and-a-half football fields, the device might as well be placed in the yard.
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So far, SunnyBot exists only as a prototype, which will give Solenica time to tweak any technical and functional specifications before it goes into production. To help make that happen, Solenica set up a Kickstarter campaign.
Personally, I have a bed of vegetables and herbs in my backyard that aren't getting enough sunlight due to a neighbor's tree that's casting too much shade. If its claims are valid, I'm pretty sure SunnyBot could rescue my beets and broccoli.
Credit: Solenica, Kickstarter