No power recharges the batteries

Posted on September 28, 2007

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McLeans Falls

I’ve been on holiday with the kids and my father around the Southern Scenic Route, ending with a few days in Hollyford.

Hollyford is about as remote as you can get but is wonderful. We went there a lot in the eighties but for some reason I hadn’t been back. One of the attractions of Hollyford is the complete isolation, no phone; cell phone; internet; no power (except for a couple of hours of generator).

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Hollyford has a small (one room) museum that we’re doing some work with. The lack of reliable power poses interesting development questions for a museum looking for an interactive storytelling experience.

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The museum holds hundreds of photographs and stories from Murray Gunn. Murray is now 82 and living in Te Anau, but his mark remains very strongly at the camp. We wanted both new and regular visitors to the camp to be able to hear Murray talking about his unique life.

We’ve almost finished a Talking Book. Attached to an old and comfortable chair, the book is a photograph album with soft switches that allow Murray to tell to his own stories. With code and electronics for 128 recordings, the system works for a week without power (is essentially a microprocessor driving an old ipod with an old car battery – there isn’t enough sun for solar). We’re excited about the book and can’t wait to see it installed.

And, changing tack as far as is possible, I’m off to the UK/US/Canada today for work (really) for a month. Several lectures to give and sustainability meetings – will keep you posted.

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