S-lab offers modules to introduce and bolster concepts, skills, and strategies fundamental to the successful development of sustainability-related projects and research. Modules are comprised of a suite of 2 - 3 hour workshops with preparatory online content where students gain in-depth and hands-on experience. After completing the modules, students will have the opportunity to apply what they learned to their own projects in S-lab.
About the Modules
The current and upcoming S-lab modules are listed below. Note that all modules are offered in the main Thimann Labs location unless otherwise specified. If desired, students are also able to complete many of these modules on their own with materials purchased from S-lab or online.
Power Systems Management
Energy Generation and Storage (Fall 2019)
Introduction to Sustainable Power: Solar powered charging and lighting In this module, students learn the basics of renewable energy generation, electricity flow and storage in DC systems. The first workshop will introduce basic terminology, materials and concepts related to electricity and electrical circuit design. Next, participants will expand on this knowledge by designing, building and testing real-life circuits to manage a solar-powered project. In the third workshop, students will be challenged to construct a functional solar powered lantern. Students are given a firm understanding of how to utilize, optimize, and balance energy distribution for sustainability research and projects.
Prototyping and Fabrication
3D Fabrication (Winter 2019)
Computer Aided Design (CAD) has been a powerful tool used to create detailed prototypes in a 3D environment, before making your design reality. This module will give you directed guidance through many of the tools available in Autodesk’s Fusion 360, a modern and accessible CAD (and CAM) program that allows you to quickly iterate on design ideas, test fit and motion, perform simulations, create assemblies, collaborate, and make photorealistic renderings and animations. We will then utilize its 3D printing workflow capabilities to 3D print your design. At the end of the module, students will be able to effectively use and explore Fusion 360 as a prototyping tool and be cleared to operate the S-lab’s suite of 3D printers.
Remote Monitoring & Control Systems
This module details the process of designing and implementing a system that can remotely monitor and control environmental conditions. It provides the foundation for intelligently automating tasks that would be needed in a greenhouse such as humidity & temperature control. Participants will go through the process of remotely connecting to an embedded system, programming it to collect data and perform tasks through feedback control, and configure it to wirelessly transmit data and commands without the need to be physically present. By the end of the module, students are trained in operating and managing remote monitoring systems for both long and short-term projects.
Water Resource Management
In this module, students are introduced to water resource management by constructing a mini-hydro pumping station in workshop 1 and a rainwater catchment system to be used in the arboretum greenhouse in workshop 2. After learning basic plumbing skills and concepts, we will explore the potential for water to provide energy as participants design and configure their pumps. In the second session, we will get outside and apply our newfound knowledge and skill at the arboretum where students perform a site inspection for potential rainwater catchment and then design and build a system to be used by S-lab at the location. By the end of the module, students will have a better understanding of water as a commodity in an agricultural area and gain insight into approaches to use the resource more sustainably both in their projects and everyday life.