SIVA Redesigns Clean Portable Power
SIVA aims to bring us the future of clean portable power (www.sivacycle.com). They sell the Atom bicycle USB generator and battery pack to convert your ride into USB electricity. Founders Aaron Latzke and David Delcourt shared with us their vision for portable renewable power throughout the world. Hear their story and check out how they are using Fusion 360 to make it happen:
It’s no secret that portable power is on the rise. The advent of personal computers small enough to fit into your pocket has issued a real need for small, compact sources of power. Chances are you’re reading this article on a smart phone, tablet or better yet, a “phablet” – all of which use a compact energy source to allow you to access information or contact others whenever and wherever you need it. Batteries are doing a good job of storing the power needed to get us through the day, but they have a nasty habit of needing to be recharged often, typically from a source of power that is not portable.
At SIVA, we sought to address this problem in 2013 (at least on the bicycle) with the creation of the Siva Atom. By using the momentum of the rider, the Atom uses a small generator to create energy that the rider can use to charge a battery– either the mobile device battery, or the removable battery the Atom houses. It was the first step in SIVA’s quest to un-tether a battery to stationary sources of power and provide clean, renewable power away from the grid.
Our quest started locally, but the vision has always been global: with over a billion people worldwide without consistent access to electricity, SIVA wants to bring a mobile energy grid to those that need it most. Creating small, portable power plants, fed by renewable sources of energy like sun, wind, steam and even humans, we sidestep the traditional roadblocks of power distribution, namely the large initial capital requirements of building an energy grid. Instead, electricity can be distributed more effectively with many small point sources that blanket the land.
After successfully launching Atom, we realized that a cyclist is just a small dot in a very large painting, so SIVA is expanding and creating a portable power system that can create energy from multiple power sources, not just the bicycle. We’re creating a system called PowerBlocks (working title) that can take energy from wind, solar, steam, or humans and turn it into electricity. Once the electricity is generated, we provide options for what you can do with it. All the tools to convert and transition that electricity into useable forms are available: a battery, an inverter (for plug-in appliances), a radio, speakers, lights and more. An ultimate toolkit for portable power, this system fits into a case and goes wherever you go, whenever you want it.
At SIVA, we design and manufacture all of our products, which means we intimately know every detail of everything we sell. We are a dispersed team that has to collaborate across multiple time zones and countries so we chose a software solution that allows this to occur seamlessly. We utilize Fusion 360 and A360 cloud storage to design and manage our files with other team members. We collaborate in real time, so we have the ability to update parts instantly— something only a cloud-based CAD program like Fusion 360 can offer. While traveling, our design work can continue away from our desktop computers. Our laptops and desktops can always access the same program and functionality, a real benefit for the amount of traveling we do as a team.
When interacting with vendors and suppliers, the share and view options that Fusion 360 offers are key to clearly communicating our manufacturing needs while protecting our source files and alleviating IP concerns. Prior to Fusion 360, we risked IP exposure when we sent out our actual part files. The web based viewing and sharing is an additional level of security that we appreciate.
Outside of our immediate team, we recently formed a partnership with Boulder BCycle, a public bike sharing program within the city. Together, we’re working to modify their bicycles to allow riders to have access to USB power while riding. Since both teams collaborate on the design, we leverage the cloud based storage and sharing features of Fusion 360, making working together as simple as having them sign up for an account. The results have been terrific; we’ve evolved at an outstanding pace.
SIVA is changing what it means to access portable clean power, utilizing Fusion 360 as a tool to make it happen. We’re taking the best of existing solutions, and combining them in ways that enhance the system further. We’re adding a bit of our own innovation to create a product line that is the first responder when the grid goes down, the first kit you pack when going off grid, and a product that will keep you up and running wherever you go, whenever you need it.