A Project by Jay and me. Illustration by Jay Zehngebot.
When the tsunami hit Japan in 2011, we recalled reading news about a hand-written newspaper.
“Unable to operate its 20th-century printing press — never mind its computers, Web site or 3G mobile phones — the town’s only newspaper, the Ishinomaki Hibi Shimbun, wrote its articles by hand with black felt-tip pens on big sheets of white paper.”
Late October 2012, Hurricane Sandy hit New York City. We were in Manhattan when the city shut down the subway the Sunday before the storm. For the whole of Monday we managed to work – with power and access to the Internet. The power went off in the evening, around 8pm.
At first it was nice; being disconnected from the entire world. We connected to another one: life without access to information. For the 4 days we stayed in the Manhattan blackout, I realized how dependent on power and the Internet we are. We had no paper dictionaries, no encyclopedia, basically no resources to learn/verify/read.
“When I was a kid, we had blackouts, and we didn’t have internet then, but it was the first time I had to face how dependent I am on the internet. Since i’ve moved to the city, I don’t have any books”
We like bikes. We bike anyways. Post-Sandy, stated simply, we want a bicycle-powered computer.
furthermore, as we proceed towards a cloud-based network structure, we loose localized access to information, files, resources, and applications
We’re not aiming to build a gridless-internet with this project – but instead, maintain a link to knowledge. If the power goes out, we want to arm ourselves with information.
to this end, the Raspberry Pi is an exciting platform. Low-power Linux offers a number of options.
Some diy bike-powered battery projects have been put out there already. Like this one, or this other one.There is also this bike-powered cellphone charger.
We will build on those previous experiences and will try to set up a system that can power the Raspberry Pi with the lowest COH (cost for harvesting) and for the longest time.