The BWSC Supporters, a group of wide-ranging creators and artists introduce the highlights of the tournament.
Product designer. Taku Omura designs personal items, such as household goods and stationery, and develops his own products. His tweet with a hashtag, making proposals for corporate gifts without being asked, often becomes a trending topic on Twitter.
Give it a try! Taku Omura elaborates on solar-powered candy crafts with a magnifying glass
Hello. I am Taku Omura, a designer and one of the BWSC Supporters who was asked to create content to build excitement for the race. I mainly work on product design, and also on my unique project of developing corporate logos into 3D objects with function, about which I tweet using a Twitter hashtag, making proposals for corporate gifts without being asked.
When I was first approached for this project, I was thrilled as I thought that I might be asked to create something using the logo of Bridgestone, the BWSC title sponsor, as they said that they were familiar with my tweets. Unfortunately, however, it turns out to be quite difficult to mess with the logo. Well, that is no surprise.
So, the question arises, what should I create then...?
Familiar source of energy - solar power
As the BWSC is a solar car race, it could be an option to propose a solar car design, but, sadly, I have no knowledge or experience in the field... So, I decided to create something using what I know well, or what everybody knows, solar energy.
What came to my mind was something that I experimented with as a child, burning paper with a magnifying glass.
I wondered if this intense energy could be used for something else and came up with the idea that we might be able to melt sugar and turn it into candies in various shapes. As it is an extension of what everyone has done before, it may be established as a new game.
That said, it is hard to do!
If you are thinking about trying it, please read my report below. The necessary tools and the suitable sugar type are summarized in the second half of the report.
Let us practice first!
Keep the magnifying glass at an angle, so that the sunlight falls as vertically as possible on the sugar.
Then focus the sunlight on a specific spot, just like is done for burning paper, and move the magnifying glass gradually as the sugar starts to melt.
The sweet scent of caramel drifts in the air as the sugar melts!
* Above is a time-lapse video. It actually takes longer.
Let us make various shapes!
Australia, the host country of the BWSC
You cannot avoid getting some bumps, but that is okay!
BWSC title sponsor Bridgestone’s logo
It just looks like an eye occluder… :'(
My first name
It is relatively easy to make as it consists only of straight lines.
The reason for choosing this is that the race is held during the weeks leading up to Halloween.
The shape was not very good, but my son liked it a lot!
Solar power can be used even for welding!
Well, you have not seen the full potential of solar-powered candy crafting with a magnifier yet.
Being able to melt sugar with sunlight means that the parts already made can also be welded together. Even 3D objects can be made, if done right.
So, I tried making a flower.
I welded the three parts together - petals, a stem, and leaves.
I proudly showed it to my wife and said: “Look, we can even make something like this with solar power.” She looked at it, evaluated it and said: “It looks like a flower that grows in the Toxic Jungle in Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.” What an accurate description! :'(
Now, we move on to a slightly more complex object.
Let us make a toy solar car body as this is a project for a solar car race.
When welding, we can place the parts in the sugar to support them. This makes it easier to get the job done.
However, please remember to handle the parts carefully, otherwise you may drop them, and all your effort would be in vain.
They will be a snack for kids ... I cannot tell you how many times I have failed. :'(
Finally, let us put the body of the car on the base wheels.
Hmm ... It looks like an off-road vehicle that has crashed a number of times...
Well, it does not matter!
This toy solar car did not run when the body was mounted as the base wheels did not have sufficient power.
That did not beat me. I succeeded in running the car smoothly by tilting the board!
What type of sugar is suitable for solar-powered candy crafting?
To conclude, the most suitable sugar is raw brown cane sugar.
What about other types of sugar can be used?
・ White sugar reflects light in the same way as white paper does and therefore it does not melt.
・ Japanese sanonto sugar (less refined sugar) melts and turns a beautiful amber color but cannot be used to make clear shapes.
・ Zarame sugar (granulated sugar) looks promising as it has brown sugar crystals, but it does not melt at all. Light passes through it.
* Not all types of sugar have been tested.
・5 cm diameter lens → did not melt sugar
・8-10 cm diameter lens → melted sugar quite well (Recommended!)
・13 cm diameter lens → The power was great, but it made my hand shaky as the focal length was too long. I could not get the shapes I wanted.
* The larger the lens, the more powerful it is, but it is difficult to focus the light at one spot. Therefore, it is not recommended.
The magnifying glass with just the right size is available for 100 yen plus tax at a major 100-yen shop chain. Availability may vary by store.
Use them to protect your eyes as you need to work with light for a long time.
Do not use ordinary sunglasses. If you are going to get a new pair, choose one that is suitable for electric welding (Filter shade 8).
* Glasses for gas welding are too lightly tinted to protect your eyes in this experiment.
Good news again!
If you layer two dark sunglasses available at a 100-yen shop and tie them together with cable ties, that would do the job.
However, I do not know if that is enough to protect your eyes, so please do it at your own risk.
This will make you look suspicious. It is recommended that you do this either at home or with your friends.
For storing sugar.
It is advisable to use a container made of material that will not melt, such as stainless steel, as it will be exposed to sunlight.
A container with a lid is even better.
Tweezers and brush
They are convenient tools for picking up and cleaning the finished candy crafts.
Although they are not essential, they will improve work efficiency.
It was interesting to come up with this project, but it was very difficult to carry it out.
One of the reasons for this is that the activity can only be done during the daytime on a sunny day. The planned day may not be a fine day, and even if it is a fine day, sugar will not melt if the sun is clouded over. I had been carefully watching the weekly weather forecast to schedule the date, but it was not reliable! I know that the teams participating in the BWSC compete against each other in a battle to run their car efficiently, paying constant attention to weather conditions. I should not group solar cars and candy crafts together, but it was a good opportunity to reaffirm the wonderful power of sunlight and the difficulty of using it.
I do recommend that you try making candy crafts.
They are crunchy and toasty, and surprisingly delicious!
Kome is a fluffy, one-year old Golden Retriever. She inherited the territory from her owner’s previous dog, ef. Affectionate and playful, Kome melts everyone’s heart with her sweet baby face in contrast to her impressive physique.efrinman Kome’s owner. She is an illustrator popular for her dog illustrations and comics.
Kome, the popular Golden Retriever gives it a try! – A dog jacket that uses solar energy
Funny Dress-up Lab
Collage artist. Fascinated by various aspects of decorative stickers, such as their vivid colors, unique shapes, misregistration, and the fact that they are now dead stock, he has been creating collage works using solely decorative stickers without altering them in any way. He will cease creating these works when the current stock in the world runs out.
Dressing up tires with stickers for model cars! BWSC collage art piece by Funny Dress-up Lab
Journalist / consultant covering technology & design. Well-known as a tech journalist who has been covering Apple and other tech giants up close for more than 28 years, he has also been covering how technology is shaping our lives and the society of tomorrow. As a lecturer and consultant, I help my clients establish a new framework based on those trends.