SMU Goes Solar
SMU Students Launch “Mod Pod” at Immersive Design Challenge “Create things out of love, not fear”. That was a common theme expressed by Southern Methodist University students during their final presentation, following a for the week-long winter “Immersive Design Challenge”. The Challenge was hosted by the Deason Innovation Gym (DIG), at the Caruth Institute for Engineering Education. 15 SMU students of diverse academic backgrounds were handpicked to spend the end of winter break answering the design question: How might we create a solar-powered, digitally-fabricated, public charging station that enhances community spaces? Their solution? The “Mod Pod”- A solar-powered public charging station, designed to be modular and easy to digitally fabricate. The “Mod Pod” unit is a customizable sitting surface, with the ability to create printed add-ons such as bike racks, solar charging units, vinyl-cut logos, plant boxes, and more. Their working prototype is meant to be a solution to enhance electricity access in both urban & rural spaces. This project came as a joint collaboration between the corporate partners Better Block Foundation, a non-profit focused on enhancing neighborhood spaces. and Good Faith Energy, a social enterprise focused on solar energy solutions. Katie Krummeck, Director at the Deason Innovation Gym states, “We cannot do these types of projects without corporate partners…to help ground us with real world context. They are the engine that drives the innovative spirit!”. The Deason Innovation Gym is a student-centered makerspace filled with both high tech and common tools and materials. The space welcomes all SMU students, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, from across campus. Students can use the 3D printers, laser cutter, CNC carving machine, vinyl cutter and power tools to create objects and complete projects, both personal and for class. The Better Block Foundation is a non-profit educates, equips, and empowers communities and their leaders to reshape and build environments to promote the growth of healthy and vibrant neighborhoods. Better Block’s mission to enhance community and urban spaces. Good Faith Energy, founded by North Texans, is a solar energy developer with a mission to provide local communities practical & sustainable solar energy production. Their work is inspired climate action & social impact.