This paper describes the development of a novel vertical axis wind turbine used for teaching and research purposes. The device is designed to operate at low tip speed ratios and features blades that are symmetric about the mid-chord plane. The blades are actively pitched by means of a mechanical system so that the chord of each blade rotates by 180º for every revolution of the main rotor. One of the attractions of the device is that it is self-starting and produces relatively high torque. A multiple streamtube analysis of the device has been developed and numerical predictions for the performance of the device are presented. Commissioning and field tests of a prototype are described and some preliminary performance results are presented and discussed.