Archive for the ‘Helios’ Category

Helios Concept.

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

Helios: The Power Tree

This is where I am with the Helios Power Tree concept; pretty pictures illustrating what I want to do.

Some Press on Helios the Power Tree

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

Helios The Power Tree

I was looking around to see if anybody wrote anything on Helios The Power Tree. It seems that a couple of blogs wrote about the tree which made me really happy. I also managed to get recognized for break trough in technology by for coming up with the Helios concept.

These are some of the blog articles about Helios The Power Tree:

Helios: The Power Tree

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

Helios Tree

I will be showing the Helios Power Tree in the ITP Spring Show 2008.
Here are some links to more blog entrees about this project:


About the installation:

technical info:

Feel free to leave me a comment about what you think of the tree.

“Synthetic Oasis” 2008

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

A Helios Power Tree was used in an installaton at ITP. Blue carpet and some grass-like foam pieces where used in “Synthetic Oasis.” The overall form was achieved by omitting symmetry, leading to an organic feel, that captures a sense of life; not mentioning the Helios’ inner pulse that mimics a heart. It appears as though the branches where made using a random system, something reminiscent of fractal formations.

The composition shows an inevitable symbiotic relationship between human beings, technology and the environment. “Synthetic Oasis” functions by collecting ambient energy in the form of light and stores it as potential energy in at its base. The energy is then used to illuminate the installation at night and to power the gadgets of the public lounging at the helios’ shade in the day time.

The word “oasis” implies the presence of water and vegetation in an isolated area in the desert. This applies to the Helios installation, since the Solar Tree can collect electricity anywhere the sun shines. The pool of electricity can then give “life” to electronics who’s batteries are dying in an area isolated from the power grid.

The blue foam is an ironic choice of color and material which contrasts that of plants yet it is the Helios that is producing the energy that would otherwise be produced by burning ancient plant matter such as coal. It is this blue hue that allows for a “Post-apocalyptic” feel to the installation in the day time and a tranquil, soothing glow which is accompanied by ambient cricket sound at night.

This new body of work is aimed to allow for a system where people can benefit in a quantitative manner as well as capturing the ideal form of entities in our environment such as trees.

Synthetic Oasis

Presentation on Helios-The Power Tree

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Helios Tree

Background: Energy Consumption Has reached a level that is having a drastic effect in our society, environment and economy due to greenhouse gasses produced from burning fossil fuels.

World power usage in terawatts (TW) from Wikipedia:

Possible Solution
Use energy that is “clean” and that does not harm the environment as much as fossil fuels. Surprisingly only 7% of total energy used in the world is renewable.

Diagrams from Wikipedia:

An area of energy production that is being overlooked is Photovoltaic technology, whose use was only at 0.42% worldwide in 2005.

Photovoltaics (PV) is Clean, and taps into the most abundant energy available. PV cell prices have dropped from around $90 in the 1970′s to around $2.5 in 2003. Technological advances increases efficiency of cells and lowers the price, so we should expect to see more of PV in the years ahead. Solar energy is the energy that runs most life on earth. Plants and algae make sugars from it to power their metabolism. Other living things like fish insects and humans then feed on plants and take their energy. The total solar power available is a few thousand times greater than the current global energy consumption.

These variables lead me to The Helios concept. A tree that uses and collects solar energy.
Helios PV Tree

Prototype Materials:

* 192 x 3V, 22mA solar cells
* 40 x LED, white superbrights 3.2-3.4VDC 20 mA,
10,000 to 12,000 mcd output
* Blue prototyping foam
* Wire/ solder/ electric tape
* Arduino Decimila and various components
* Solar Charge Controller
* 12VDC, 7A Battery
* Lots of Coffee! I mean like, A lot of it.
* VoicePad Recorder


What does it do?
The Solar Charge Controller monitors voltage and when energy conversion is optimum, the solar cell circuit charges battery. In Beta version, the tree will have an addition of functioning outlets. An Arduino micro controller is used to monitors light via photocell sensor.
The lights on the tree turn on when the Arduino senses that its night, as well as a cricket ambient sound.

Specs of the Helios Tree:

14V peak, .6A
8.4 joules/ second
30 240 joules

12V, 7A battery
302 400 joules

4-5% at optimum light
Circuit Usage:
12V@ 400mA Watts

The chart below illustrated the energy collection and power usage of the Helios Tree.

Summary: Why make a Helios Power Tree?

* To diversify our energy portfolio!
* A step in the right direction, we need to go from 0.42% of PV usage worldwide to 42%
* Micro-generation is the key to avoid 8% loss in transmission
* Electricity Access in places with lack of infrastructure
* Help cut CO2 Emissions but producing power locally near the place of usage and turn the CO2 chart 46 degrees clockwise.
* Inspire future generations to use clean energies in a creative way.

Helios: The Power Tree

Monday, March 24th, 2008

I decided to rename my solar tree to “Helios-The Power Tree” or Helios Tree for short. I don’t want people to confuse my flexible solar PV cell tree with the Solar Tree a project by Ross Lovegrove of LONDON. My tree has an organic form and is a blue color and silver leaves. The idea behind the form of my tree was inspired by a fellow artist’s by the name of Roxy Paine who’s work is in Madison Square Park in New York City. Now that the solar PV cells where installed to the blue foam skeleton, the prototype is actually starting to look like a tree! Behold The Helios Tree:

Helios Tree

View from below:


View from above:


Soldering the solar cells.

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

Soldering 192 solar cells is going to suck! I spent around 8 hours prepping and soldering and only managed to complete 30 solar cells. As I was soldering away, I realized that I need to attach these cells to the tree somehow. I am thinking about using hot glue but if that melts the foam, I will have to resort to some sort of latex glue. As far as esthetics, I am liking the way that the solar cells look like once I soldered wires to them.
They are not looking as bad as I thought.

I will be using blue and white wires; blue being positive and white is the ground.


These are some snapshots of the soldered solar cells.


This is what they will look like on the tree.


I did some observations of the leafs around here and it seems they are grouped in twos and fours. This is good because it will be the same set up I will use.



Solar Tree Update

Friday, March 14th, 2008

I received the solar cells that I ordered from Jameco Electronics and I was very disappointed. Although the solar cells are the size I ordered. They optically appear smaller than I imagined them. I also came to the conclusion that I will not have enough solar cells(due to budget issues) to fill up the whole tree as I first imagined. To make the tree more esthetic and functional I will be placing the solar cell on the top of the tree and the rest of the tree will be filled with decoy solar cells whose only purpose is esthetic.

This is what the cell look like from the top.

This is the bottom side of the cells.

this is the current status of the tree.

Solar Tree, carving the form.

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

I’m still waiting for the leafs of the tree to arrive. I ordered 200, 3v, 22mA solar cells that are supposed to get here today or tomorrow. Time is now a factor in meeting the deadline to finish this tree. The solar cells need to be soldered in series (in groups of four) to get 12V. These groups need to be wired in parallel to build up the current/ amperage. What this all means, is that there is a lot of soldering left to do.

This is an image of the tree in its beginning stages.


Close up of the blue foam.


The glue I’m using is PL premium adhesive.

Carving begins and gluing continues. Its starting to look like a tree!

solar tree

Solar Tree Prototype

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

To make sure that I am on the right track before spending a ton of money on flexible solar cells. I am making a prototype of one out of the many branches that will make up the tree itself. The current branch that I am making is made up of 5.5V, 22mA flexible solar cells. I made pairs wired in series and then wired all the pairs into a parallel circuit. The output of this solar cell circuit at full sunlight should be 11V, 132mA which is 1.452W. I then attached this circuit to a branch that I found in Washington square park. Eventually I hope to make the actual tree and branches out of plastics or metals.

In the image below I have the solar branch prototype and a sound device(Voicepad) . The sound device will be used to make ambient sound every time a person walks close to the tree.
solar branch

This is a close up of the sound device.

To control the device, I am thinking about using an Arduino and an Infrared sensor.