We all know cars run on fossil fuels, electric, hydrogen and even vegetable oil, but how about one that only works when it absorbs the power of social media?
Yes, a group of clever students from Kansas City high school have modified a 1967 Karmann Ghia car to run only when it gets a mention on Facebook, Twitter and the rest of the social media world as part of an after-school program known as Minddrive.
The students added an electric drivetrain hooked up to an Arduino motherboard programmed to acknowledge when 'social fuel' is provided. This can be registered in the form of a tweet with the hashtag #Minddrive, an @Minddrive mention, a Facebook like or share and Instagram Follows and Shares. Even YouTube video plays, follows and shares will help propel the car along its merry way.
The idea is that, with enough of a buzz from the Internet, the social media wagon can take the students from Kansas City to Washington D.C. to meet elected officials and talk about the subject of education awareness and experiential learning programs such as Minddrive's.
The idea is to reinvigorate their passion for learning via an automotive project, teach a few positive life lessons and then reward students with a road trip in their creation.
“We want them to say, when it’s all over, ‘I can’t believe we did something like this,’” Minddrive director Steve Rees explained. “It gives them the sense of being able to go back to school and do anything."
Twenty students will have a go at driving the car as it passes through schools and technicals dotted along the way, finishing at the aforementioned press conference on Capitol Hill on the 6th June, 2013.
Obviously there are concerns the social media buzz will be insufficient but Rees is positive about the response for what is undoubtedly a good cause. “Each of our major sponsors has … millions of connections on Facebook and Twitter and so on.
"We’ve got plans with them, so we have an expectation that we’ll be able to glide right on through this. We don’t want to be stuck at some charging stop along the way," he added.
It sure beats sitting in a overly lit room looking at equations on a white board.
Head on over to Minddrive's website to register your digital fuel contribution or check out the tour schedule.