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To find possible applications, we started from our daily life
Power banks are common in our life. When one of our team members mentioned that electricity is essential for adventurers, we connected power banks and our project together. During explorations in places such as jungles, deserts, and caves, adventures need electricity to power mobile phones for emergency contact, or power electric torch to see roads clearly. Without electricity, it is hard for them to survive. With our battery, they don't need to worry about using electricity up, because one of the most significant characters of the battery is that it is rechargeable. When adventurers use up the power banks, the battery inside can recharge itself, preparing for next time.
Besides the human world, we also want to solve problems in the natural world, since humans are not the only creatures on this great planet.
We first came up the idea of protecting migratory birds by powering the GPS that we used to study their migration pattern. Shenzhen is a city with a great amount of migratory birds because the government protect wetlands well. However, according to the expert from the Dapeng Leucadendron Floridum Wetland Park, the government does not spend enough money on protecting migratory birds due to the lack of awareness. As the result, experts do not have money to purchase GPS, which is about $100, and they learn the migration pattern only from a website that documents bird lovers' observation, which is rough and inefficient. Therefore, the expert from the park thought that our battery can help experts to study the pattern, because the cost of each battery is low, meaning that they can afford the GPS devices and install them for birds. In addition, each piece of out battery is about , which is thin and light. This character enables researchers to install devices for small migratory birds, which cannot use current GPS devices, since devices are so heavy that they will affect birds' motion. With the help of our battery, experts in Shenzhen can study birds' migration pattern more efficiently and comprehensively.
During the visiting of the Dapeng Leucadendron Floridum Wetland Park, park workers also informed us about the protection of mangrove forests. Before, they used sensors powered by lithium batteries. But it is troublesome to charge these plenty batteries. Currently they use stations with some sensors powered by electricity wires to monitor the environment of mangrove forests. However, because of the limitation from electricity wires, they cannot install many stations. What is worse, Shenzhen has a long coast line, which increases the demand toward stations. Our battery may solve the problem, because it can charge itself, meaning that workers do not need to collect and charge them, and enables sensors to get rid of electricity wires. With the battery, more sensors can be installed on the coast line and monitor more mangrove forests.
In our later research, we fortunately met Cesar, an expert from MakerBay who is working on a project called Marin Litter Detective by collaborating with Seeed. To respond WWF, they started this project from 2017. Their detectors are to record the current in the ocean, so that they can trace the pattern of litter in the sea and find out the source of the litter. However, their detectors will not be recycled, indicating that they will be left in the ocean, causing pollution. For their product, the pollution only comes from two places: shells and batteries. MakerBay is working on finding new materials to replace the plastic shells, but have little process on solving battery problem until we appeared. Our project gives them possibility to develop hundred-percent degradable detector. In the future, we will further collaborate with them.
Besides Cesar, we contacted with Professor Hei, who attends in the manned space flight project in China. After learning some basic information about the spaceship, she is working on, we thought about the possibility of providing electricity for laboratory caseworks in the spaceship, because electricity is limited on the spaceship. Professor Hei said that if our battery is stable enough and can provide enough electricity, engineers even can decrease the number of solar panels installed on the spaceship, which is a great improvement of spaceship. What is more, we want to install our batteries on the inner surface of the spaceship with appropriate protection, so that our batteries can provide more electricity for the spaceship.