Anne-Marie Lavigne
Jay Zehngebot


A Sandy inspired, off-grid, human-powered mirror of English Wikipedia's entirety.

Basic Analog Circuits,Energy

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, we set out to construct a low-power, grid-independent information storehouse and communication platform. Built on a Raspberry Pi with output via a kindle’s e-ink screen, and powered by a human coupled to a bicycle-generator, the Off-Grid WikiPi exists for the purpose of housing and accessing digital information away from the grid or in the wake of disaster. For the show, we propose to demonstrate command-line access to an offline mirror of all four-million english Wikipedia entries, along with relevant information regarding the flow of energy in our system and other potential capabilities of the platform, including Bulletin Board Systems and Packet Radio Transmissions.

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. The aim was not to build a gridless-internet with this project - but instead, to 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.

The Raspberry Pi presented a very-low power computing platform to build an off-grid mirror of Wikipedia. Thinking about a similarly-low powered screens led to the discovery of Kindleberry Pi - a kindle 3 which had been repurposed as a terminal to a raspberry pi. e-ink screens are fantastically low-cost, energy-wise, so a reasonable solution for providing the longest-possible reward for human-generated electricity.

General public, children.

Groups and individuals concerned with access to information the wake of disaster, or the persistence of access to essential online information spaces we take for granted.

User Scenario
The experience is simple, but nonetheless meaningful. The display of the project will show all the steps that lead to the access of Wikipedia. The bike will be displayed on its fixed rack where the motor is attached. The user will first be asked a simple question on general knowledge that he does not know the answer of. Then, the user can hop on the bike to power the battery. The user will see how many watts he produces. Afterwards, the user will plug the battery to the Raspberry Pi and he will use the kindle to navigate and read an article on Wikipedia to find the answer to the question he was asked. We will then calculate how many watts it took him to find the answer.

There will be explicative signs for every step of the process. The user will understand how kinetic energy is produced. How the battery is charged. How the Raspberry Pi is powered using the battery. How many watts a human can produce with a bike. etc.

We will give an "instructable" sheet to every user. So he can build the same circuits, use the Raspberry Pi and power his how project.

OG WiKiPi is made of 2 modules:

- bike + DC motor + battery: the back wheel is hooked to a DC motor that generate power. the battery is charged using an analog circuit that controls the voltage.

- Battery + Raspberry Pi + Kindle: Once it is charged, the battery is connected to the Pi. An analog circuit control the voltage. The Raspberry Pi is connected to a Kindle 3. using the command lines to navigate the content.

-How to build a kinetic energy circuit that can safely charge a battery.

-How to build a circuit that can power safely a Raspberry Pi using a battery.

-Formatting a MSQL Database on the Raspberry Pi and building via script a mirror of English Wikipedia.

-Jailbreaking and configuring a Kindle 3 to function as a working terminal to the Raspberry Pi.