Team Members

Adrien Arias, Jarett Cox, Olivia Dodge, Zariq George, Cristian Hooker, Abraham Sheikh, Noelle Turner


The hedgehog concept of HelioSmart is to reduce the number of motors needed for a practical, simple design which eliminates unnecessary waste, maximizes profit, and reduces cost. Competitive cost efficacy is achieved with affordable, easily manufactured materials and only three motors per module. This small heliostat design includes a flange-supported pole structure manufactured from ABS polycarbonate. The 4-heliostat module is controlled remotely with a Raspberry Pi via Wi-Fi with a maximum range of 100 m. The central shaft rotation is achieved by a motorized belt and the azimuthal position is adjusted using a stepper motor and gear combination. The reflective surface is a thin layer of silver under glass, which prevents oxidation and allows easy maintenance without sacrificing the highly desirable reflectivity of 95%. With only three motors, the design achieves 360° of rotation in increments as small as 0.5°. In addition to high maneuverability, the design boasts an efficiency of 50% afforded by minimal shading, maximum reflection, and limited light dispersion. This optimized heliostat delivers a useful power of greater than 1 MW and a solar concentration greater than 1000 suns. Given its continued elemental exposure in Las Vegas, Nevada, the module is designed to withstand wind loads of up to 136 N and preserve the computer system, motor, and gears through a protective enclosure. This thoughtfully designed heliostat provides the customer with a lifetime of up to 25 years to contribute towards a cleaner, greener future of energy.

Pitch Video