Team Members

Jennifer Brett, Joshua Brett, Elijah Crain, Olivia Dodge, Jacob Jenkins, Alexander Lacerna, James Soto


Our team, Sunseekers, has developed an automated heliostat that delivers high performance without sacrificing its low cost, the primary goal of this project. Our hedgehog concept is utilizing a compact design with all critical mechanical and electronic components contained within its body. This allows the device to survive the ambient conditions in Las Vegas, NV, and has already withstood winds of over 120 MPH. A harmonic drive rotates the entire assembly 360 degrees azimuthally for year-round solar tracking. The elevation axis exhibits 90 degrees of rotation and is actuated though a mechanical linkage fastened to a lead screw nut at one end and attached to the base of the mirror mount at the other end. This was chosen over a second harmonic drive to reduce cost, manufacturing time, and number of parts and because the strength requirement for the elevation axis was not as high. Our design maximizes ease of use by utilizing a conventional bulkhead plug on its exterior and multiple ports of entry to install and maintain the motors and wiring within the enclosure. Rotating the motors only about the azimuthal axis simplifies wire management and prevents entanglement. Through these developments, the use of commercially available parts whenever possible, and 3-D printed components, the system is expected to fall well below the cost limit set by our customers. This thoughtfully designed heliostat provides the customer with a strong and independent module that contributes towards a cleaner, greener future of energy.

Pitch Video


Final Video