Creating Current

Topic: Other Subtopic: General

Case Study

of an Exhibit

by Jesse Harrington Au

Published on December 03, 2010

  • Description and goals

    Innovative Bike based-Curriculum to help facilitate learning. That is the simplest way to describe this series of bicycle powered learning systems. The systems have been built, tested and are about hit the floor.

    Riding a bike is something that provides more than just the practical benefit of moving people from point A to B. In the same vein spreading ideas is something that was much more important to me when creating the exhibits for “Creating Current” then creating learning artifacts.

    To begin with I’ve identified three types of active learners: Kinesthetic, Converging and Tactillian, who learn better by physical involvement. Aiming to elucidate how the Power on Demand (POD) concept could be a great learning experience for all. By “all,” meaning that as in each of the individual categories listed above I have identified a space for that learning to take place, a museum, a classroom and everywhere else. Attempting to spread the idea that you can create your own energy and letting users do so in a variety of ways that they felt most comfortable in.

    Design Inspiration:
    Power on Demand concept utilizes human power to generate electric or non-electric mechanical power for several uses. All three kinds of learners get a practical awareness of human power as an alternative energy source. As well as an empowerment that they need not rely on their local power company to create energy. This is a world wide exhibit and was inspired by the people of Kosovo as well as others who struggle to keep the lights on.

    First, the RMSC-Cycle for Converging Learners. These users are the type that we placate the most in the exhibit industry. The ones who love the hands on experience but are not willing to take the next steps to build there own experience. These learners are critical and represent a very large portion of the public. They also come to the Museum in search of being stimulated. The mechanism includes a automatic car seat that sits slightly above a pedal-driven machine and is easily adjusted by the remote toggle switch. The user/learner applies manual labor to a acrylic shielded bicycle cut apart and mounted upside down on a raised platform. The are used to run several exhibits including the most important user of energy, the light bulb. This fixed exhibit is part of the Rochester Museum and Science Centers new fleet of bike powered alternative energy exhibits. The idea being that to bicycle power the alternative energy exhibits space.

    Second, there is Edu-Cycle for Kinesthetic Learners, which is for the scientist or science instructor. This bike is set up to teach small groups and be able to preform multiple experiments. The idea is that the bike can be ridden from school to school and upon arrival the basket on the back of the bike flips upside down to become a stand holding the pulley on the power generating motor in place. The Edu-Cycle also comes with a kit that includes materials to preform basic experiments. The user then documents the experiments and uploads them to the website on (currently before its ridden to its next location. Creating a community of users and larger pool of resources. This is a mobile exhibit created to go from science classroom to science classroom and be set up in a way that the instructor could focus on experimentation and not mechanics. The Edu-Cycle is the only one of the “CreatingCurrent” series to not yet have a launch date.

    Finally, there is a pack of DIY Plans for Tactillian Learners, these are the users who have to make their own science museum and have the resources to do so. This set of instructions created with only visual language is intended for use by anyone from any culture to enable them to create their own bicycle generator. It was first delivered at a the South Eastern Europe Future of Energy Leadership Conference in Pristina Kosovo where it received rave reviews. It is the most downloaded file on Creating Current and has been utilized by people all over the globe including South Africa as well as India.

    The over fate of this series of exhibits is still to be determined. The goal to spread the ideas is gaining strength everyday and weekly I get emails from someone new who would like to attempt at building one of the three for their own use.

  • Exhibit Opened: December 2010

  • Location: Rochester, NY, United States

  • Estimated Cost: Less than $5,000 (US)

  • Website(s):

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