Phase I Prototype

We get a lot of inquiries about our original prototype. We finished it in February 2010, and it was very rewarding to finally see a 12-ft by 12-ft road panel! Since the cost of the custom hardened glass with embedded heating element exceeded what Phase I funding could support, we had to wait until Phase II to order the glass to be used for the surface. For the Phase I prototype, we used polycarbonate in place of the glass. The prototype Solar Road Panel in the video was built and tested entirely indoors, so it does not contain solar cells - the purpose was to show the funtionality of the proposed electronics. The solar energy collection portion of the testing was done outside with a different system and some of the results are included in our Numbers page.

Mark Dixon of YERT (the team who filmed us a while back as part of their trip across America looking for solutions to Global Warming) arrived on February 27th, 2010 to film a demonstration of the prototype Solar Road Panel and the prototype stormwater distribution system.

By the time we dropped Mark off at the airport on March 1st, he had roughly ten hours work of taping "in the can". A lot of editing work needed to be done!

In addition to the prototype Solar Road Panel and the prototype stormwater redistribution system, we built a 3' by 3' crosswalk panel. We don't really discuss it, but in the video, you'll see two children run onto the crosswalk panel. The crosswalk panel contains embedded load cells to determine when a weight (such as a pedestrian or some form of wildlife) is on its surface. The crosswalk panel begins to flash when a weight is detected. It also sends a signal to the Solar Road Panel, which instructs the oncoming drivers to "SLOW DOWN". This demonstrates the ability of the road panels to communicate with one another along with any drivers traveling across their surfaces.

Photos and video courtesy of YERT.

Many of the following pictures are courtesy of YERT.

Scott troubleshooting a circuit board:

Scott working with his team:


Final assembly:

A closeup of an Individual Electronics Module. Each module contains three yellow LEDs and three white LEDs for "painting" road lines - they look the same when not illuminated:

A little farther out:

Farther yet:

Scott making final adjustments:

Size perspective:

Configuring the panels with an interested audience:

Time to film:

Prototype demonstration:

Playground possibilities:

First test of our pedestrian warning system: When the kids step onto the crosswalk panel, the Road Panel warns drivers to slow down. In an actual system, the road would warn drivers in plenty of time to stop. The wildlife protection feature will work in much the same way:

Many thanks to:

Mark Dixon (of YERT)
Terry Franck and family
Matt Hemphill
Justin Wendt