macMonkey Digital Studios developed three exhibits for the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s Division of Energy Resources annual Minnesota State Fair eco-exhibit: two wind energy interactive displays and a web-based, real-time solar energy data display. The Solar Energy Exhibit used a large monitor to display a web page showing historic and real-time solar energy data from solar panels installed a nearby location. The graphic interface quickly gave visitors the sense of energy collected vs consumed over the course of the day including cost savings.
The first wind energy display was a quiz presentation on Minnesota wind energy facts. The visitor was presented with ten questions on wind energy and each question and answer slide advanced when the turbine blades were physically rotated by the visitor.
The second wind energy exhibit let the visitor select a turbine height and then displayed how much of Minnesota has adequate wind to harvest at that height. A built in–physical fan also blew air in proportion to the wind speed average at that height, giving the user a physical correlation to the wind levels available. It was also a very popular exhibit on hot August days in the un-air conditional hall!
All displays were developed and coded in Python and HTML. They were then deployed on small, inexpensive Embedded Linux Boards saving considerable hardware expense with the added benefits of simpler physical interface connections and increased reliability.