The off-line project GravityLight has created an LED lamp powered by all natural elements: sand and gravity. The target? Those who rely on harmful kerosene lamps in developing countries.
The project is working to replace the use of kerosene lamps and emphasizes the dangers that come from everyday use of the harmful fuel. The World Bank estimates that 780 million women and children inhale smoke from these lamps daily equating to smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day. The fumes from kerosene can even cause sight-threatening eye infections and cataracts. An even scarier thought lies in the number of those who can actually die from the use of kerosene lamps. 2.5 million people a year in India face severe burns and even death from overturned lamps.
GravityLight is working for a solution.
The makers of the LED lamp have appraised the light at $10, compared to kerosene fuel that can cost 10-20% of a person’s income in a developing country. The idea of the GravityLight derives from an old idea, much like how an old grandfather clock works. The light is powered by the force of gravity, pulling on a weight (sand or other earth element) that the operator has hung from the lamp. For example, a 22-pound bag of sand attached to a rope can generate enough light to brighten a 100-square-foot room for 30 minutes. When the light begins to dim and eventual die, the bag of sand must simply be hung again to revitalize the light. Project managers’ hopes are that once enough funds have been given, the lamp can be provided at $5 or less, instead of the original cost of $10.
The project is asking for donations through Indiegogo, an online community that helps projects promote campaigns and raise funds for project implementation. If the project receives enough money, it will gift the lamps to villagers in both Africa and India for them to use on a regular basis. “Once we have proved the design, we will be looking to link with NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and partners to distribute it as widely as possible. When mass produced the target cost for this light is less than $5,” GravityLight says on Deciwatt.
The positive side on using LED lighting is that this type of light lasts longer than a typical bulb and does not attract mosquitos like conventional bulbs, a plus for any region experiencing a high mosquito population. GravityLight is designed with durability concerns in mind as the gears do not require any maintenance and the LED light bear a 30–50-year lifespan. The light aslo has the power to generate a reading light, power other batteries, and even a radio.
This light can make a huge impact on villagers in developing countries. To learn more or even donate to GravityLight, visit the Indiegogo page.