imagine a device that uses water or wind energy to charge electronics, that fits in your backpack, goes anywhere, and that was invented by a crowd from Memorial University. it’s called WaterLily, and Seaformatics, the company that made it, were looking to develop something else entirely.
the Seaformatics team consists of MUN Engineering graduates and in the words of co-founder Andrew Cook, is a ‘spin out’ from Memorial University. in 2010 there was a lot of ocean research taking place in our province. engineers, oceanographers, biologists and others were working to collect undersea data. the equipment used to collect the info was limited by batteries which run out and are not easily replaceable or rechargeable. to resolve that problem, Seaformatics developed a large-scale turbine that spins and generates energy from ocean currents. Eureka! but the true innovation came when Seaformatics developed a miniaturised version of this technology for everyday consumers - WaterLily.
the team launched a pre-order campaign for WaterLily in 2017. almost immediately, the product was featured in dozens of publications including The Discovery Channel’s globally syndicated Daily Planet! the feature generated mass demand for the product. and no wonder! when placed in flowing water, Waterlily spins to generate the energy required to charge USB-powered devices. cell phones, GoPros, iPads, flashlights, cameras and battery banks can all be charged – the things people use to keep safe and record their time in the great outdoors. the Waterlily also works with wind energy on a standard Newfoundland day (ie, windy).
WaterLily has been designed for outdoor enthusiasts - hikers, campers, cyclists, and boaters can all take advantage of the product. there has also been significant interest in the system from the military sector, disaster response teams, and field-scientists. accessories are being introduced as they are developed, and include a hand crank (in case of no wind or water), bike, tripod and boat mounts. it goes everywhere - the company offers free worldwide shipping! that’s the start. the team at Seaformatics aims to develop new products that harvest energy from renewable sources, especially in areas with limited access to power.