About this project
- Great for ages 5-5000!
- More than just a novelty: This is not the dinky potato clock or lemon battery. With MudWatt, kids design their own experiments, and learn electronics, engineering, biology, and green energy, all-the-while building creative confidence!
- Get kids outside and excited about science and the natural world!
- Long-term engagement: The MudWatt is a living battery that kids nurture and monitor over the course of weeks or even months. Use the MudWatt Explorer App to track your MudWatt's growth over time, analyze data, and unlock a comic book!
- Build advanced bioenergy technology (currently being researched at Stanford, Harvard and many other prestigious labs around the world), right in your kitchen!
- Connect multiple MudWatts to power more stuff!
- Completely safe and reuseable!
Did you know that pretty much all of the world’s mud has little organisms in it that produce electricity when they eat? Pretty sweet, right? Well that’s not the magic of MudWatt (that’s the awesome science behind it!).
The magic comes in when a kid gets a hold of a MudWatt. Eyes and minds expand. Curiosity is stimulated. Creativity is activated. The natural world suddenly looks more complex and exciting. The future looks a little brighter. That’s the magic of MudWatt.
The MudWatt kit empowers kids (and kids at heart) to become scientists and engineers, teaching them important STEM skills while engaging their curiosity, their creativity, and their appreciation for the natural world around them. It merges topics like energy, biology, physics, chemistry, and engineering to generate the spark (<--Pun!) in STEM learning. The MudWatt is not a "build it and forget it" kit; it encourages kids to get creative with science and offers long-term engagement over weeks, or even months, through the MudWatt Explorer App.
Colonies of special bacteria (called shewanella and geobacter) generate the electricity in a MudWatt. This means that the electricity output is proportional to the health & activity of that bacterial colony. By maintaining these colonies in different ways, you can use MudWatt to run all kinds of great experiments to maximize your power!
Within a few days of building your MudWatt, the LED will start to blink using the electricity generated by your bacteria! This blinking rate will increase over time as your bacteria population grows.
The MudWatt Explorer App detects that blinking rate and (using our super special algorithm) tells you how much power your MudWatt is producing AND an estimate for how many electric bacteria you've grown!
Use the App to track your MudWatt's growth over time, analyze your data, and unlock a comic book! This offers long-term engagement with the MudWatt, spanning weeks to months! (Available for iPhones, iPads and Android devices.)
We've gone through several iterations of the MudWatt, and the response has been incredible. Now we want to take this to the next level, refine the product, and reach more kids because kids really do dig it. (<--Pun!) What’s amazing about MudWatt is how many different elements there are to get a young learner interested.
We often get letters from parents describing how much fun they had, along with their child. They often say that it was a great bonding experience, and that they felt really smart in front of their kids.
At the end of the MudWatt experience, your kid will understand:
- What is electricity?
- What is renewable energy?
- How do you design an experiment?
- What is soil made of?
- What are bacteria?
- What do bacteria like to eat?
- How does a biobattery work?
- What is bioenergy?
- How does energy flow through nature?
- And much much much much more...
Besides parents, teachers are some of our biggest fans, and they are one of the major reasons we are running this campaign. MudWatt is an amazing tool for classroom use for a few great reasons: it’s hands on, affordable, reusable, and it can be used to teach a number of topics throughout the school year. Even better: With the funds from this campaign, we will develop additional curriculum suitable for use in classrooms tied to the Next Generation Science Standards!
In a recent study, less than one-third of 8th graders in the U.S. were deemed proficient in science. Today, 70% of the fastest growing careers are in STEM fields. The supply of STEM education is not meeting the demand.
There are some great kits out there that give kids something to do or make -- but the outcomes are already well prescribed and there is no sense of creativity or adventure, which are inherent to science and engineering! We wanted to go beyond the standard and give kids a tool where the outcome is unknown -- a genuine experiment that requires creativity and critical thinking. MudWatt is the scientific method in action: you and your kids can design and run real experiments together right at home!
We are engineers who’ve made everything from potato guns to giant space stations lurking ominously above the earth’s surface! (OK, not so much the space stations. But we’ve made some great stuff.) Check out this video about the genesis of MudWatt:
This campaign is the first offering of our new MudWatt core kit - check out these awesome configurations!
Risks and challenges
Since we’ve already been producing the early version of MudWatt kits for some time, there’s less risk associated with this project than some other Kickstarter projects. We’re already a company vetted through the prestigious, Stanford-affiliated StartX incubator, and we’ve already established relationships with high-quality and trusted manufacturers for the new products we’re offering as rewards.
Moreover, we've already developed great partnerships with educators to help develop and test the MudWatt curriculum. With your support we're confident that we can provide kids with a truly educational and inspiring experience.
While every project comes with some risk, you can back with confidence...as long as you don’t mind getting your hands dirty!