OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign up, Login or Learn more

Cosmos (Compact Solar Modular System)

Cosmos is an all-in-one off grid system for struggling communities that uses solar energy to facilitate education and access to information.

Photo of Riya Bhartia
7 4

Written by

Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Cosmos (Compact Solar Modular System) uses solar power to facilitate education and inspire community growth by providing access to information. Using green energy to provide a self-sustaining, informative solution to communities in need is the essence of Cosmos.

Issues it addresses
 
1. Audio-Visual Education
 
Schools in developing countries rarely have access to the internet or the means to provide audio-visual enhancements to their classes.  Cosmos solves both problems, allowing teachers to better articulate their lessons and boosting students' education.
 
Adult education in developing countries is critical, yet often seems impossible because of their work schedule during the day and unreliable access to light at night.  The LED light equipped in Cosmos makes night schools/revision schools possible. 
 
Some use melamine boards with scratches, dings and discoloration from marker residue. Teachers and students in other government classrooms may not be as lucky — the chalkboard at some schools is simply a concrete wall painted with black paint. They’re hard for students to see and read and hard to erase.  Cosmos comes outfitted with a whiteboard which can be utilized while the monitor is not in use.  Its light provides the illumination crucial for night schools.
 
Additionally, it allows students to charge their phones and other small gadgets, providing a convenience and a further incentive to come to school.
 
 
2. Lack of Information
 
Cosmos creates the potential for information centers where people in the community find answers to their questions and use the internet to look for opportunities.  For example, supplying farmers with the newest technology, solutions for the optimal use of their land and informing them with the market price of their produce.  Or helping students register for examinations and providing access to job opportunities.  Cosmos serves as a stepping stone for people that don't have access to a global platform.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

According to the 2011 census of India, 68.84% of Indians (around 833.1 million people) live in 640,867 different villages. The size of these villages varies considerably. 3,976 villages have a population of 10,000+, while 236,004 Indian villages have a population of fewer than 500. These smaller villages that are often not connected to the national grid are what we aim to focus on.

Our main target market is small schools and communities of such villages in developing countries. We have used struggles in villages of India as our reference so far, but we eventually we envision adapting our product for other countries like Africa and Indonesia.

Major Concerns: Kerosene as a harmful light source, discouragement to learn because of dim lighting, Not feeling in control, inefficient use of time, don’t qualify for electricity because of low population, Farmers have been forced to sell crops without knowing the market price, students can't access the full range of available information

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

Why this matters.
 
Nearly half the world lives in the dark, without access to electricity, or get unreliable hours of power per day. Electricity is one of the greatest enablers.  It increases productivity, permits learning and education, and allows people to access the internet, opening a nearly infinite range of knowledge and resources.  Yet without other options, many households resort to using kerosene lamps, which produce dangerous fumes and can cause devastating fires.  Cosmos attempts to change that.
 
Cosmos allows a community to generate their own electricity, store it and use it to enlighten themselves and educate their children — all without having to pay a utility bill, buy fuel or produce harmful pollution. We provide an all in one off grid solution that will empower the community by not having to rely on the government. We believe that the poor are not looking for sympathy; they are looking for a partner.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Initial Design: I am exploring the idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

This project is done by 'Eiko', a global internship initiative started by a 112 year old Japanese company called Nakayama Ironworks Ltd. This initiative was started 2 years ago and we've had 17 interns from 5 different countries so far.

Website: http://www.ncjpn.com/en/

Expertise in sector

  • 1-2 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered company.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

We believe that our idea will help bring Prosperity and Planet.

Planet: We use green energy as a source of power keeping the current climate change issues in mind.

Prosperity: Smaller villages experience stunted growth due to hurdles like being disconnected from the world. By providing them a tool to inform themselves, it will give them a fighting chance to progress as a community.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

So far the idea has been developed by the design intern with technical support from the others. We are hoping to be able to collaborate with individuals or organisations with knowledge in the field of education or non profit work.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

These communities have hard working and motivated individuals which deserve to be given a bigger platform to succeed.

Harish Hande, a social entrepreneur talks about a more equitable India and says, "There is a huge potential of entrepreneurs, mathematicians, innovators, inventors that is just lurking behind darkness. So by putting that one light, we are taking the first step out of ten."

We want to provide more than just that light.

Geographic Focus

While we are focusing on India, we would like to reach African villages in the future as well.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

1 year

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No

7 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Catherine Sealys
Team

This project is a great idea, while we are not off the grid however the cost of electricity is quite high and struggling families cannot afford the monthly charges so families revert to using candles and kerosene lamps which sometimes results in fires which destroys family home and all their possessions. We wish you all the best for this initiative.

View all comments