By Nudge Sustainability Reporter Ana Stoddart
Brighter than the sun
Sustainable economies, inclusive societies and clean energies are recurrent topics, and bringing it to reality will certainly be a major challenge for current and future generations. Teun, a Dutch engineer and founder of the The Solly System, developed a didactic toy-robot-system that operates with an interactive software designed to help children understand how renewable energy works.
The idea emerged after spending time with his niece and nephew. He soon realized that children needed to learn more about sustainability and clean energy at an earlier stage. This requires getting them motivated and excited about the topic. As part of his research project for university he developed an educational Kit for children to have a stimulating hands-on experience with renewable energies whilst allowing them to explore, examine and apply their acquired knowledge in a creative setting.
Shortly after graduation, he set up The Solly System enterprise and got more experts on board. Today this start-up has already succeeded in the development of its first prototype and the completion of its pilot project in a first grade classroom in the Netherlands. Teun plans to expand to the European market and later on to go global. After all, energy is everywhere and sustainability is a matter that concerns us all.
Share your Power
The Solly system is a set of playful toy-robots that operate fully off-grid and interact among themselves (every unit has a flow-feedback system). Each robot has a particular feature, for example Solly the sun-eating robot that absorbs solar rays through its solar panel mouth, Letty the light emitting robot that has a chargeable battery-belly, Windy the wind energy robot, and there are more robots going to be developed (…who knows, maybe the next one can pump water or even take off and fly away!). Moreover, the input-robots can work together to generate more electricity and additional output units can be attached, hence the system powers up.
All input robots store data related to when and how much energy has been collected. This information is then passed on to a video game software, linked with weather data and converted into digital energy tokens. These tokens will come in handy as the kids will have to build a virtual green planet for the robots to inhabit. The educational video game encourages children to collect tokens, create healthy ecosystems whilst learning about science all along the way. Furthermore, this interactive software allows classrooms to compete with one other in order to become the best green architect or energy master.
Green light to transformers
The Solly System stimulates kids to explore the wonders of nature, create synergies and work together with others whilst learning about science in an active, fun and innovative way. Additional features and development to both the robot community and software, such as connecting mobile devices to them, will keep the system challenging and exciting for children of all ages to participate (e.g. to take pictures of plants in the real world and bring them into existence in the virtual world). All in all, the benefits of the digital world are combined with the benefits of applied knowledge in the field of sustainable energy.
Learn more about The Solly Project in this video.
- The Solly Project http://www.hetsollysysteem.nl/en & www.thesollysystem.com
- The Solly Videogame https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3_EQ93Oe6E
- Personal communication with the founder Mr. Teun van Roessel (11/Dec/2015)