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PZ Vapor Trail Experience

2018 Vanceva World of Color Awards - Honorable Mention

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pz-vapor-trail-experience
pz-vapor-trail-experience
pz-vapor-trail-experience
pz-vapor-trail-experience
pz-vapor-trail-experience
pz-vapor-trail-experience
pz-vapor-trail-experience
pz-vapor-trail-experience
pz-vapor-trail-experience

Categories:
Floors

The PZ Vapor trail project at NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Visitor Complex at Cape Canaveral, Florida, is a 40,000-square-foot lighted outdoor footpath demonstrating applications of piezoelectricity for renewable energy. The entire Vapor Trail experience is about six hundred VANCEVA glass tiles that light up in various colors for user interaction. Each glass tile is a pixel in the pathway’s mosaic imagery of Earth, Mars, and the moon. The opening is scheduled for the 60th anniversary of NASA. For this unique project, we –architects and researchers at GTRI– designed an interactive self-powered flooring system, composed by high performance concrete tiles. Each tile has a novel designed system of custom electronics: circuit boards, six mini solar panels, a battery, LEDs, a Bluetooth transmitter, a Wi-Fi transmitter, micro controllers, and the piezoelectric element—all of which are covered by a loadbearing VANCEVA glass tile top. A small electrical charge is generated when a piezoelectric material is compressed, flexed, or vibrated. Harnessing this technology at the visitor complex, the researchers at GTRI are using a thin, ceramic disk of lead zirconate titanate, which has the strongest piezoelectric response of any known material. “Just as a sponge squeezes out water, the piezo element under pressure squeezes out electricity that can be harvested and stored.” The tiles operate on three power sources: piezoelectricity, solar panels, and a small rechargeable lithium battery for energy storage and use at night. The self-powered system, when triggered by a human footstep, produces a wireless signal that connects with smartphones and screens to inform visitors about NASA space missions, piezoelectric technology as well as the STEM cooperation between NASA and Georgia Tech.