information design through screens & objects

Biolite Nanogrid

industrial design, market research, physical computing
A rechargeable lighting system powered by Biolite's cookstoves, which generate electricity while cleanly burning wood. The system is made up of a flashlight power-bank, the PowerLight, and smaller string lights that branch from it called SiteLights.

An an intern at Biolite I worked on early design explorations for the SiteLight and on the controls design of the full lighting system.

Design Specifications

Early sketching and prototypes of the SiteLights were created with the aim of a self-contained, elegant design - combining functions in the most minimal form possible. The first prototypes explored different ways to contain and hide the cord within a light form that could adapt to many environments.

  • Cord Management - body of light functions as spindle to wrap + contain 10 ft cord
  • Positionable - cord itself provides a way to hang and individually position the lights and daisy-chain them together
  • Compact - fits in your pocket

We moved forward with the notched disc prototype because it was the most compact, requiring no extra features or materials beyond those contained in the light disc.

Arduino Hacking

In assisting with the electrical design and UI control logic for the PowerLight, I created prototypes using an Arduino and pressure-sensitive resistor hacked into a flashlight. The goal was to test how easily a user could set the light brightness based on how hard they push a button.

My final design hides the length of wire that is not in use, and utilizes the wire itself as a multi-position hanging mechanism, along with notches on the top of the SiteLight.