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Design for Nomadic Seafaring Life

A lighting device that uses clean energy to generate electricity from waves, and this project redesign the houses of sea nomads.

  • Cover

  • Project background

  • Lamp design

  • Experiment - Electromagnetic Induction

  • House design

What it does

This project is designed for sea nomads to meet the lighting needs, it uses the clean energy of waves to generate electricity. And this project combines the advantages of local resources, using traditional weaving techniques to redesign the living houses.

Your inspiration

This project was inspired by my travels in Malaysia, where I was exposed to the Bajau, who have lived in the stilted house for centuries and make a living by fishing. Environmental pollution has reduced fishing, thus influencing their living circumstances and needs. I used local advantages such as traditional weaving, solar energy and wave energy to redesign the house and lighting system to improve their living quality and income. This design covered multi-discipline knowledge concerning product design, architecture design, and material, to solve problems in reality, and wave power generation is an affordable clean energy for local residents.

How it works

The lighting system is based on the electromagnetic induction, using waves to generate electricity. It consists of an illuminated part that on the planks of the house and an underwater part that is fixed to the supporting columns of the house. Float on the surface of the ocean move up and down with the waves, driving the magnets up and down, constantly passing through the coil, generating electricity. And finally the wave energy can be converted into electrical energy to meet the daily lighting needs of residents. On the other hand, this project redesign the houses, combine the local traditional weaving craft. Different weaving methods will result in different patterns in the final product. The gaps between these patterns allow air and light to pass through, so changing the natural lighting and air circulation of the house can be achieved through different weave textures.

Design process

When I observed that local residents had difficulty in using electricity, I wanted to help residents solve their daily lighting needs in a low-cost way. Sea water and sunlight are the most abundant clean energy sources in this area, and solar power generation is very developed, so I focused on the design of wave power generation devices. In the beginning, I was inspired by wind power generation and designed the underwater part in the shape of a spiral fan blade. I imagined that when the water flows through, the fan blade rotates. But this conjecture was quickly confirmed that it is not feasible. Through experiments, the spiral fan blade model will not rotate when the water flows through it. And then, I researched a lot of relevant literature on wave motion, and I learned that waves move up and down in a small range, rather than moving in one direction as a whole. The float on the sea and the electromagnetic induction learned in high school physics textbooks inspired me. Therefore, I connected a magnet under the float. Based on the electromagnetic induction, the magnet moved up and down by the float passes through the coil to generate current, and finally realizes the conversion of kinetic energy into electrical energy. My model test also proved the feasibility of this design.

How it is different

The purpose of this project is to design a new way of life for sea nomads, which can help residents improve their quality of life and income, while being environmentally friendly and affordable. Nowadays, although there is wave power generation, there is a huge cost problem and the equipment cost is high. However, this lighting equipment of this project has a simple structure and a combination of local traditional skills, and the cost is relatively low.

Future plans

I hope that the next step of this project will be a field experiment to test the use of the device in the actual scene and then make further improvements. I hope this project can help people who need it in the future.


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