September 3, 2015 | 3:15 pm

Team: Matthew Cheung, Jessica Chiu, Nick Firmani, Julia Solano

Course: Interactive Seating Design Competition, Spring 2015

Volta is a traditional rocking chair with a decidedly contemporary update. Designed by Matthew Cheung, Jessica Chiu, Nick Firmani and Julia Solano, the chair harnesses the rocking motion of its user to generate energy. When someone rocks in the chair, a pendulum beneath the seat begins to swing, setting in motion a battery-charging process.

Equipped with electronics that include a low-powered microcontroller and a small display, the chair is internet-enabled and can record and share information on its energy production. In June 2015, this 21st-century take on the rocking chair earned its designers a “Maker of Merit” designation at the National Maker Faire.

Want more information on Volta and its designers? Check out:

Interactive seating: New course models design innovation education,” Berkeley Engineering

Jessica Chiu’s portfolio

Julia Solano’s portfolio




Topics: Internet of Things, Sustainability