Energy Night

As part of Studio Olafur Eliasson’s engagement with the MIT community, Little Sun co-founder and engineer Frederik Ottesen worked with MIT faculty and students on the development of new ideas to expand the Little Sun project. His visit culminated with an appearance at MIT’s popular Energy Night, an annual student-run event featuring over 70 interactive poster presentations that present new research and start-ups in energy renewability, storage, and efficiency, where Little Sun was featured in a prominent installation.

Little Sun Teams
During his stay, Ottesen mentored two student-led groups formed during the Hacking Arts weekend: Little Sun Community Team, winners of the Little Sun challenge, and the Little Drop Team.

Little Sun Community Team is creating an online platform for building connections among vendors around the world and Little Sun fans. It will incorporate a Pinterest-type bulletin board and principles of gamification to offer sales incentives. The site will encourage distributors and vendors to track their progress towards an ultimate goal of delivering sustainable energy to off-grid communities.

Little Drop aims to provide an affordable solution for potable water by outfitting Little Sun with an easy-to-use water sterilization straw using solar-charged, battery-powered LED UV-C irradiation. As water is sipped through the straw, a solar-powered germicidal UV LED kills 99% of pathogens in the water.

Exploratory Conversations
During his visit, Ottesen met with the following members of the MIT community:

Joost Bonsen leads Development Ventures, an MIT course and “action lab” that encourages students to establish, finance and build high-impact, viable ventures in emerging regions for underserved customers. In Bonsen’s course, co-taught with MIT Media Lab professor Sandy Pentland, students are challenged to craft enduring yet economically viable solutions to problems faced by at least one billion people worldwide.

Michael Bove is the director of the MIT Media Lab’s Object Based Media research group. Bove was responsible for off-grid distribution and engineering for One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), a non-profit organization that distributes inexpensive laptops designed for children in developing countries, established by Nicholas Negroponte, Chairman Emeritus of the MIT Media Lab and Jerome B. Wiesner Professor of Media Technology.

Derek Brine is the project manager for CITE, the Comprehensive Initiative on Technology Evaluation, a program developing rigorous testing methodology for products designed for the developing world. CITE is part of MIT’s D-Lab, a global network of innovators designing and disseminating technologies that meaningfully improve the lives of people living in poverty. The program’s mission is pursued through interdisciplinary courses, technology development and community initiatives, all of which emphasize experiential learning, real-world projects, community-led development and scalability.

Robert Stoner is Deputy Director of the MIT Energy Initiative. MITEI links power, innovation, and policy to transform the world’s energy systems. It is an Institute-wide initiative designed to help transform the global energy system to meet the challenges of the future. Through research, education, campus energy management, and outreach activities, the initiative uses an interdisciplinary approach covering all areas of energy supply and demand, security, and environmental impact.