About this project
VOLTA FLYER FEATURED IN
The Volta Flyer is the World’s First Solar Powered Airplane Science Project for Kids
Build it with your hands. Power it with the sun. Launch it with excitement!
This solar-powered glider airplane will get kids of all ages outdoors chasing the sky for hours -- while making hands-on science and engineering discoveries as it happens.
The Volta Flyer is the world's first DIY airplane kit that is solely powered by the sun. The kit contains all of the prefabricated parts and components necessary to build your very own solar airplane. The Volta Flyer can be assembled in as little as 20 minutes without special tools or glues – just your hands. When building the Volta Flyer, kids will learn about basic mechanical engineering, aeronautics, electronics and renewable energy.
The solar “panel-on-wing assembly” technology and unique power management system enables the sun to power your flights – no batteries required. You just need the sun to power up your fun!
The Volta Flyer ships with a unique thin-film flexible amorphous silicon solar panel, a fuselage with wing receiver and embedded electronics, two sets of wings and vertical stabilizers, a set of wing joiners, and a set of cool decals to customize your Flyer. Detailed assembly instructions and a tutorial on aeronautics and the Volta Flyer’s electronic circuit design are included in the box and available online.
Take the Flyer to the field and fill the sky with aerodynamic free-flight patterns. The Flyer is the perfect science activity for open-ended exploration and outdoor fun.
The Volta Flyer is a revolutionary design using super-lightweight, eco-friendly materials to maximize flight time.
Not found in any other airplane kit is a thin-film, flexible silicon solar panel and unique power management system that powers flights without the need for batteries - ever. This special design allows the Flyer to harness the sun’s energy for enhanced hang-time and incredible free-flight gliding.
Flight is as easy as 1-2-3!
The kit contains all the parts, instructions, and decals you'll need to build your own Volta Flyer in as little as 20 minutes -- without the need for special tools or glues.
Putting It All Together
The kit contains:
Also included are:
- Fun decals and logos
- Online and print assembly instructions with an introduction to flying techniques, basic science and engineering concepts
- Online tutorial about solar energy, and basic aeronautics, mechanical engineering, electronics and circuits
The Flyer is not just a cool science project…it involves kids in the process of building, making, and playing.
By building their own solar Flyer airplane, kids gain practical insights into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). They will:
- Experience the application and use of ultra-light materials
- Discover how balance, weight, and weather affect the plane’s stability
- Experiment with solar energy as it transforms to power
Kids will learn-by-doing, engage in problem-solving and observation, while gaining skills to become future scientists and engineers!
A Great Project for Experiencing STEM in Nature's Laboratory
We created the Flyer so that science learning isn't just confined to the classroom or tablet. In the physical world, kids can engage directly with STEM concepts by putting theory to practice. Unlike other science toys, taking the Flyer outdoors opens up a world of experiential discoveries
- Parents and educators can guide real-time experiments and discussions about the effects of weather and materials on aeronautics and solar power
- Students can track flight times and paths and compare the results
- Kids can collaborate on projects that create sustainable clean energy innovations for the future
Hands-on research provides the kind of knowledge that students are likely to internalize because they are mentally and physically invested in it. Use the Flyer in nature’s laboratory as the capstone for a classroom STEM project and take learning to new heights, literally!
What We're Offering
With the $39,000 we raise, we can fully kickstart production of the Volta Flyer. Here are the rewards for your help!
What You'll Get
We’ve successfully designed, prototyped, and tested the Flyer (and trust us, it’s awesome!). We are now ready and eager to bring it to your kitchen table, classroom, local park, or anywhere learning occurs.
We need your support so we can fully kickstart production of the Volta Flyer. Streamlining production and acquiring electronic components at scale will allow us to bring our manufacturing costs down. We want this product to be affordable to teachers and educational institutions.
If we reach our stretch goals, we want to make an impact immediately by donating school classroom kits (7 each of Racer, Flyer, and Solar Panel) to a number of schools in underserved communities.
We also have exciting plans to begin early development of the Flyer with onboard sensors to collect environmental data during flights. We see many possibilities for collecting, experimenting, interpreting and collaborating the results of this data in a classroom setting.
Stretch Goal 1 ($100,000) Start the design of a Volta Flyer Sensor prototype to affix small onboard sensors for environmental data collection AND donate a School Classroom Kit to 10 Schools in underserved communities
Stretch Goal 2 ($200,000) Test and complete the Volta Flyer Sensor prototype AND donate a School Classroom Kit to 20 Schools in underserved communities
How ToyLabs Was Born
As parents to Generation Zers in the heart of California's Silicon Valley where there is an abundance of sunshine and access to the latest technology, we try to balance our kids’ screen time with productive outdoor activities that we can enjoy together with our children.
Inspired by his own two young kids, Tim Curley founded ToyLabs with the idea of developing practical hands-on science education projects for kids -- projects that challenge their imaginations while encouraging them to build something with their own hands to take outside to play and experiment in the physical world.
From Idea to Creation
Our first product, the Volta Racer, received the prestigious Good Design Award for its unique industrial design and its educational value and eco-friendly components.
We've been selling the Racer to science museums, schools, afterschool enrichment programs, and specialty stores worldwide since 2013 and we're working with some of the most amazing and enthusiastic educators to develop learning resources.
Over the past 22 months, through iterations of designs and prototypes, the Volta Flyer was developed. The patent application for the Flyer was recently published by the US Patent Office, and we've filed a Continuation-In-Part for our latest designs.
ToyLabs was featured in:
Join us and help us drive the STEM education movement in your home, at school, and in your community. We are in dozens of schools and several universities, as well as major science museums, and specialty retailers. See how ToyLabs products have been integrated into workshops, education programs, and exhibits -- and keep inspiring us with how you encourage STEM education in your community!
The Carnegie Science Center (Pittsburgh, PA): Integrated the Volta Racer with their NETL Energy Exhibit while showcasing the Racer in their live energy show
The University of New South Wales and Sunswift Solar Car Racing Team (Australia): Uses the Volta Racer to teach school kids about sustainable transport solutions, and as a way to demonstrate how their own solar electric car 'eVe' works
The University of Arizona (Tuscon, AZ): For the past two years, the Yaqui tribe and Hispanic youths participated in the National Science Foundation funded i-STEM Project to explore renewable energy, mechanics, and electricity with the Racer
STAR Education and Los Angeles Unified School District (CA): ToyLabs continues to partner with STAR Education Inc., a children’s non-profit, to ensure that the Solar Flyer, along with the Racer, reaches 22 Title 1 schools that are supported by the After School Education and Safety (ASES) Grant. STAR Education is currently using the Volta Racer in 8 schools in Los Angeles County to teach the California Science Standards and the newly adopted Next Generation Science Standards.
We are parents and educators and we are passionate about providing the opportunity for every child to learn science and technology through hands-on discovery. Meet the ToyLabs team with over decades of experience in STEM education and making!
About the Founder: Prior to ToyLabs, Tim was Founder and Managing Partner at PartnerAlliances and ipNavigate (acquired by Amazon Consulting). He has extensive pre-through-post IPO start-up experience serving as VP of Business Development at Nogatech Inc. (acquired by Zoran Corporation) and VP of Business Development at MegaChips Corporation. Tim also served in various business development and strategic alliance roles at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), Nortel Networks, and Sanyo Corporation. He holds an MBA from Pepperdine University and a BSc in Business Management from Menlo College.
We're Social #VoltaFlyer
Risks and challenges
We're making a product that wants to fly – building a well flying airplane isn’t always easy; so we've worked (and continue to work) very hard to make sure we cover our basis in terms of producing a science kit that comes together neatly, and achieves flight when the weather conditions are suitable for flight.
ToyLabs has some solid engineers who understand how to design and develop new products and bring them to market. We understand what goes into making simple, yet reliable hardware and we know how to build things.
Our manufacturing partners have excellent track records in producing high quality products and they know how to scale to meet demand. Their production engineers work closely with our staff to ensure quality results.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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