An Industrial Designer’s Desert Experiment with Solar Power


Here’s an amazing project dealing with solar energy: UK-based, German industrial designer Markus Kayser has created two devices to tap the power of the sun in harsh climates of the Egyptian desert.

The first is called Sun Cutter, described as a light cutter that uses a large ball lens to focus the sun’s rays onto a surface that’s moved by a camp-guided system. As the surface moves, under the magnified light it cuts 2D components like a laser. The project was tested for the first time in August 2010 in the Egyptian desert and Kayser used thin plywood to create the parts for a few pairs of shades.

After that, Kayser began to examine the process of 3D printing. Merging two of the deserts most abundant resources, nearly unlimited quantities of sand and sun, he created the Solar Sinter, a device that melts sand to create 3D objects out of glass. Solar-sintering, Markus says, aims to raise questions about the future of manufacturing and triggers dreams of the full utilization of the production potential of the world’s most efficient energy resource – the sun. It doesn’t provide definitive answers, but rather a point of departure for fresh thinking.

You may be asking yourself what the point of all this is. “In a world increasingly concerned with questions of energy production and raw material shortages, this project explores the potential of desert manufacturing, where energy and material occur in abundance,” he says on his website, where you can find more details about his desert experiment.

Markus Kayser – Sun Cutter Project from Markus Kayser on Vimeo.

Markus Kayser – Solar Sinter Project from Markus Kayser on Vimeo.

Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.



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