Last week, I was in Linz, Austria for the Ars Electronica Festival, an interdisciplinary showcase for technology-driven arts and science innovation projects of all kinds. Walking down one of the picturesque, Upper Austrian city’s 18th century cobblestone streets lined with Euro-chic shops and cafes, I came upon a gigantic metal sunflower parked in the middle of the roadway. This object turned out not to be a whimsical sculpture, but a portable, plug-and-play solar power unit. An on-site demonstration showed off its several innovations. At the touch of a button, a large solar panel surface unfolds, automatically turning toward the sun. At sunset, the unit folds up its panels, cleans itself, and stores itself in a housing for protection from the elements.
Smartflower produces forty percent more output due to its GPS controlled tracking, which keeps the unit focused on the most effective angle to the sun to turn light into power. Its most innovative feature is that the unit is mobile. If you move, take it with you—it’s like a private, mobile solar power plant. It’s a stylish item, available in several colors. Its playful sunflower shape mimics the natural intelligence of the sunflower plant, which also opens and closes, and follows the sunlight for its energy. The Smartflower solar power unit is a bright new idea that has become an illuminating energy reality.
Article by John Howell.