A rendering of the charger with a metal frame and a sponsor's branding. 

A rendering of the charger with a metal frame and a sponsor's branding. 

 
 

The first Wildcard project: building an MVP. 

Why a solar powered cell phone charging station?

We hypothesized that downtown Raleigh event-goers will use a solar-powered charging station because festivals are innately social experiences that rely on documenting, sharing, and communicating. Heavy tech usage over long hours dwindles battery life, and this is a convenient solution.

Further, we believe that event planners will invest in this technology as a service to their attendees, staff, and volunteers because nothing like it exists, and it’s an exciting opportunity to provide a service that’s hip, green, and valuable.

 

 
Jed holding the second version of our MVP. 

Jed holding the second version of our MVP. 

After researching and talking with potential users, we came up with a working prototype. We tested the charger with random users to see how intuitive our design was. It did really well on the street; people walking by wanted to plug in immediately. 

Our final solution (what we’re calling our “beta” product) is a rigid, mobile solar-charging station. We tested it on a light pole and a tree, but with the flat back and expanding/contracting pipe clamps, the charger can be easily modified to attach to a variety of existing infrastructure.

This solution was chosen to be a scalable, aesthetically pleasing design that can easily be installed and removed with a minimal amount of tools. The open space along the sides provides surface area for branding and instructions on how to operate the charger. The overhang shields devices from sun and weather, and the cheerful, modern design beckons users to interact with it.