SolarSPELL at Innovation Showcase

SolarSPELL at ASU is a global educational initiative that combines curated digital libraries, solar-powered technology, and the training to build information literacy and internet-ready skills in offline environments, focusing on the half of the world that remains unconnected.

Spring 2023 projects

SolarSPELL Logo

Students: Jakob Acres, Chayaank Bangalore Ravishankar, Sathvik Bheemanathini, Peter Gregus, Shams Hassan, Caleb Hecht, Romney Kellogg, Jason Mester, Holden Mitchell, Connor Montalban, Logan West
Project #1: SolarSENSE Soil Sensing Probe

SolarSENSE is a multi-probe solar-powered soil sampling solution that relays real-time data to smartphones that farmers will use to determine the condition of their soil. It is designed to be ultra-affordable and to work entirely offline, with target users as agricultural extension agents and farmers in low-income countries, who are most often not connected to the internet. This semester’s team designed and then built a working prototype of the sensor probe, comprising multiple sensors that measure soil temperature, pH, and moisture.


SolarSPELL Logo

Students: Jakob Acres, Chayaank Bangalore Ravishankar, Sathvik Bheemanathini, Peter Gregus, Shams Hassan, Caleb Hecht, Romney Kellogg, Jason Mester, Holden Mitchell, Connor Montalban, Logan West
Project #2: Redesigning the SolarSPELL Build Day 

The SolarSPELL offline digital library has an entirely new hardware platform, with nearly all of the components changed. This requires a complete redesign of the SolarSPELL Build Day. In addition to planning the redesign, the team will also create an instructional video or training, so that future Build Day volunteers will know what to do and will be able to build high-quality SolarSPELL libraries. Since there are new components (charge controllers and battery) that need to be tested ahead of the Build Day, the team is also creating training modules/videos on how to test these components.


Fall 2022 projects


Students: Hunter Khan, Tor Tjorhom
Team: SolarSPELL Biomedical Technology Library

Nearly 75% of medical equipment across the developing world comes donated from wealthier countries, but it nearly never arrives with user guides or repair manuals. Patients die needlessly while doctors, nurses, and biomedical technicians don’t know how to use or how to fix this equipment. While many people believe that this situation could be addressed by providing internet connectivity, this is simply not the case: manuals are most often difficult to find, and frequently are not posted at all. The SolarSPELL initiative addresses this challenge, by combining appropriate technology (a portable, solar-powered digital library), targeted content (in this case, information on how to use and fix BMET equipment), and local capacity-building. For the past 3 years, teams of dedicated engineering students have worked to find and obtain permission to add these repair guides and user manuals for biomedical equipment likely to be found in rural hospitals and clinics in Sub-Saharan Africa, to the SolarSPELL BMET library. This semester, the team has focused on adding videos to the library, which can demonstrate in a visual, hands-on way, how to use and repair BMET equipment.


Spring 2022 projects


Students: Ashley Tse, Xingchen Li
Team: SolarSPELL Biomedical Technology Library Offline Training Course

This team focused on the SolarSPELL Biomedical Technology library collection, and more specifically, on creating an offline training course designed to train biomedical technicians in the field, on how to use the SolarSPELL offline digital library in the clinics and hospitals that they serve. The course looks and feels like an online course, but is offline.



Student: Mikayla Johnston
Team: SolarSPELL Pacific Islands French Language Library

This team launched the creation of a French-language version of the SolarSPELL Pacific Islands education library. This library is being created at the request of Wallis and Futuna, a French territory in the Western Pacific, designed to be used in primary and secondary schools across those islands.



Students: Software team: Deegan Brady, Max Gao, Reed Hancock; hardware team: Vanderson Cunjuca, Randie Domek, Juan Ramirez; circuit board team: Kyle Johnston, Brittany Tews
Team: SolarSPELL – SolarSENSE Solar Powered Soil Sensors

This team worked to create solar-powered soil sensors that will communicate with the micro-computer within the SolarSPELL hardware in order to give feedback to a farmer on the moisture, PH-level, salinity and temperature of the soil in her or his fields. All of this computing is done offline and the farmer accesses this information via smartphone or WiFi enabled device.