Electrified, Student-Built Karmann Ghia Runs on Tweets
May 23, 2013 Leave a comment
A group of Kansas City high school students and their mentors have electrified a Karmann Ghia, modifying it so that it will only run when it gets mentioned in social media. If that sounds like a publicity stunt, that’s because it is. And it’s for a good cause.
Minddrive has taken kids who have fallen through the cracks and developed an after-school program that matches them with mentors and gets them excited about learning through hands-on automotive work. Each year, the students’ final project is a road trip in the car they built.
“We want them to say, when it’s all over, ‘I can’t believe we did something like this,’” said Steve Rees, the program’s director. “It gives them the sense of being able to go back to school and do anything.”
This year, the team put an electric drivetrain in a 1967 Karmann Ghia. Next week, they’re driving it from Kansas City to Washington, D.C. for a chance to meet elected officials and raise awareness about education. To make sure their voices are heard, they’ve attached an Arduino to the electric drivetrain and programmed it to let the car move forward only when there’s social media buzz about the project. Minddrive calls it “social fuel,” and it provides an important lesson for students: If you want people to care about what you’re doing, you have to make sure they know about it.
Read More at Wired.com