Electric Flora: An Interactive Energy Harvesting Installation

Project Members

Joanna Dauner (Disney Research Pittsburgh)
Matt Glisson (Disney Research Pittsburgh)
M. Emre Karagozler (Disney Research Pittsburgh)

Electric Flora is an interactive, human-powered energy harvesting system that converts a person’s movement into light. The installation explores the interaction of bodies in space, movement, materials, and electrostatic energy.

Electric Flora relies on a person’s interactions with a polyester covered floor, hanging acrylic rods with embedded LEDs, and garments. The electromechanical conversion−from a user’s movements to electricity−is based on the triboelectric effect, where rubbing and contact of different insulators cause them to exchange electric charge.

The user interacting with the rods wears custom-made cardboard sandals that are covered with PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) sheets. As the user slides his or her feet on the floor or takes repeated steps, charges accumulate on the PTFE and the floor. With this accumulated charge, repeated motion of the feet creates an electric potential difference between the user’s body and the floor. When the user touches the conductive end of the rods with embedded LEDs, this potential difference causes charge to flow through his or her body and to the LEDs, emitting light.

Gallery

Project_Electric_Flora_stage

The system is composed a raised floor wrapped in polyester cloth, hanging acrylic rods with embedded LEDs, and the ceiling which defines the volume of the installation in space and provides a support structure for the hanging rods.

Project_Electric_Flora_vines

Thin film diaphragm fabrication. In order to create thin, reliable, full-body object compliant diaphragms we developed a new fabrication procedure that uses film coatings and molds to create diaphragms.

Project_Electric_Flora_stage

Thin film diaphragm fabrication. In order to create thin, reliable, full-body object compliant diaphragms we developed a new fabrication procedure that uses film coatings and molds to create diaphragms.

Project_Electric_Flora_interaction_2

Thin film diaphragm fabrication. In order to create thin, reliable, full-body object compliant diaphragms we developed a new fabrication procedure that uses film coatings and molds to create diaphragms.

Publications

Project_Electric_Flora_Paper_thumbnail

Electric Flora: An Interactive Energy Harvesting Installation
June 21, 2014
ACM conference on Designing Interactive Systems 2014
Paper File [pdf, 251.32 KB]

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