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The Volta Flyer is a DIY, Maker, STEM Kit using Advanced Solar and Ultralight Materials-includes everything to build your own airplane!
The Volta Flyer is a DIY, Maker, STEM Kit using Advanced Solar and Ultralight Materials-includes everything to build your own airplane!
The Volta Flyer is a DIY, Maker, STEM Kit using Advanced Solar and Ultralight Materials-includes everything to build your own airplane!
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374 backers pledged $42,652 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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World's First Solar Powered Airplane STEM Kit for Kids!

$42,652

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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. 

Flexible Solar Panel and Eco-friendly Balsa Wood Frame
Flexible Solar Panel and Eco-friendly Balsa Wood Frame

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.

Kit Contents
Kit Contents

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
Easy-to-use Instructions
Easy-to-use Instructions

Technical Specifications

The Flyer is not just a cool science project…it involves kids in the process of building, making, and playing.

Assemble the Flyer in about 20 minutes
Assemble the Flyer in about 20 minutes

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 practiceUnlike 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.

Designed, Prototyped, and Made in the USA
Designed, Prototyped, and Made in the USA

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.

Stretch Goals

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

i-STEM Project Participants and Advisors with Volta Racer
i-STEM Project Participants and Advisors with Volta Racer

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.

Our Supporters

 

Our Team

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.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Our heartfelt THANK YOU from the ToyLabs Team for your support!

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    VOLTA SOLAR PANEL KIT

    Includes:
    A flexible 4.8V thin-film amorphous silicon solar panel (the same panel we use on the Volta Flyer) and a pair of alligator clip cables to power up your own Maker projects.

    Free shipping to single location within US

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    VOLTA RACER SOLAR CAR KIT

    Includes:
    A 0.5V polycrystalline silicon solar panel and all of the pre-fabricated parts and components required to build the solar powered Racer. The frame and chassis allows for two different solar panel configurations and two speed gear modes. Made with eco-friendly materials. Blue color.

    Free shipping to single location within US

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    PREMIUM LONG-SLEEVE VOLTA FLYER T-SHIRT

    Navy blue tagless Hanes t-shirt with printed orange Volta Flyer logo. Double-needle stitched for durability. 100% pre-shrunk cotton. Super cool, super comfortable.

    Free shipping to single location within US

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    VOLTA FLYER SOLAR AIRPLANE KIT

    Includes:
    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

    Free shipping to single location within US

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    VOLTA FLYER SOLAR AIRPLANE KIT

    Includes:
    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.

    Ship to US, EU, Canada, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.

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    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    THE VOLTA DUO - VOLTA RACER AND VOLTA FLYER PACKAGE

    Includes:
    1 Volta Racer Solar Car Kit (Blue)
    1 Volta Flyer Solar Airplane Kit

    Free shipping to single location within US
    Estimated delivery for the Volta Racer is December 2015

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    Pledge $85 or more About $85

    THE VOLTA TRIO - VOLTA RACER, VOLTA FLYER, AND VOLTA SOLAR PANEL PACKAGE

    Includes:
    1 Volta Racer Solar Car Kit (Blue)
    1 Volta Flyer Solar Airplane Kit
    1 Volta Solar Panel Kit

    Free shipping to single location within US
    Estimated delivery for the Volta Racer and Volta Panel is December 2015

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    24 backers
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    Pledge $170 or more About $170

    THE SCHOOL STARTER KIT

    Includes:
    2 Volta Racer Solar Car Kit (Blue)
    2 Volta Flyer Solar Airplane Kit
    2 Volta Solar Panel Kit

    Free shipping to single location within US
    Estimated delivery for the Volta Racer and Volta Panel is December 2015

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    Pledge $510 or more About $510

    THE SCHOOL CLASSROOM KIT
    **Includes ONE extra kit of each kit for FREE**

    Includes:
    7 Volta Racer Solar Car Kit (Blue)
    7 Volta Flyer Solar Airplane Kit
    7 Volta Solar Panel Kit

    Free shipping to single location within US
    Estimated delivery for the Volta Racer and Volta Panel is December 2015

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    THE WORKSHOP MASTER KIT
    **Includes THREE extra kits of each kit for FREE**

    Includes:
    15 Volta Racer Solar Car Kit (Blue)
    15 Volta Flyer Solar Airplane Kit
    15 Volta Solar Panel Kit

    Free shipping to single location within US
    Estimated delivery for the Volta Racer and Volta Panel is December 2015

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Funding period

- (30 days)