December 27, 2016

This last month has been very important for all teams as the deadline for the first prototype is January 8, 2017. Since school let out for Winter Break, our team has been meeting every weekday for 3 hours a day. We have made a lot of progress towards building our prototype.

Below are some of the accomplishments from each team.

Solar Panel Team
This month the solar panel team has made a lot of progress in regards to their prototype. We created our first prototype in which a solar panel charges a single battery. We also used a soldering iron to build a solar panel connected to a USB port using a breadboard. We wanted to be able to charge a cell phone from solar power to see if we can incorporate this in our invention. While making these prototypes, we learned a lot about electricity and physics! We experimentally discovered how a diode and a resistor affect current and learned about Ohm’s Law. We also got the chance to speak to an electrical engineer, Luis Luna, who provided advice on how to approach the project.

Structures team
In the past month structures team has been working very hard to learn about different tent structures and styles. After weeks of research, we ordered two different tents with different structures so that we would be able to see which structure best met our needs. After debating and seeing the pros and cons of both tents we were able to finalize the design and materials of our tent’s structure. Most importantly, we have narrowed our choices for the poles that are going to be used for the tent. Throughout this month we have been able to accomplish our goal of ordering the material needed to build the structure of our prototype.

Materials team
Our materials team has been working very closely on testing fabrics that would best fit our tent. We first believed kevlar, carbon fiber, or polyester will suit our tent but after running our test plans, we saw that the kevlar wasn't water repellent and polyester was too stiff for the flexible structure we had planned. We explored other options where we ordered sample packs of fabrics that would fit into our criteria of water repellency, durability, and insulating. This lead us to order nylon, 420D cloth, and WeatherMax cloth. We performed a durability test and water repellency on these fabrics and we are currently in the process of selecting WeatherMax or 420D cloth for our tent because nylon was a weaker fabric. We have also decided that the base of our tent will have a foam padding to support the homeless with cushion instead of a hard cement floor. In the next two weeks, we plan to to have our fabric set and and order all the materials for our final prototype. We also expect to receive our materials for our first prototype that way we can focus on sewing and the dimensions of our tent. We are excited to receive our sewing machine this week!