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Engineering  |  Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS)

Phoenix Zoo: Heating and Cooling Bed

Meeting Time

Wednesdays, 6:20-7:10 PM

Project Description

The Phoenix Zoo needs a passive solution to keep their caracal, Cleo, cool in the summer while keeping her in the view of guests and encouraging her to exercise. Cleo has a small air-conditioned box in her enclosure, but the zoo employees who work with her are worried about her health, as she is 14 and no longer exits this air-conditioned box to exercise when the temperature is high. Because of where her enclosure is located, any additional cooling methods must be passive (no electricity or water hookups) and easy to maintain. Last semester our team designed and prototyped our first cooling bed, which when paired with the shaded overhang of her enclosure provides an exterior space to cool down.

This bed is cooled passively through long-lasting frozen gel packs. This prototype was delivered to the zoo, and the feedback is being used for our new design, which is a lighter and larger system. Paired with this device is a temperature sensor that the zoo employees will be able to use to monitor the live temperature of the bed, in case of any irregularities. This semester our project was awarded a Changemaker Challenge Grant.