Kerosene lamps are the primary source of light for those in impoverished nations, but a U.K.-based charity hopes to use technology to brighten the lives of those who can’t afford electricity.
The Gravity Light Foundation teamed up with OPTIS, a prototyping company that works with light and human vision simulation, to develop a device that generates light from gravity. GravityLight, the organization said, is a lamp that provides clean, reliable, low-cost lighting to the economically disadvantaged.
“Today, 20% of the world’s population do not have access to electricity,” said a Gravity Light statement. “That’s one in five people. Without electricity, most of these people have no other option but to use kerosene lamps to light their homes. The aim of this startup then is to eradicate kerosene lamps by developing an extremely low-cost light.”
GravityLight works by filling a bag with about 20 pounds of weight, usually rocks, and lifting it up to the base of the device. Over a period of 25 minutes, the weight falls, pulling a strap that spins gears and drives an electric generator which powers an LED. The process creates enough energy to last 25 minutes.
The organization used OPTIS’s SPEOS simulation to develop this gravity-based light technology. The system simulates human vision within a virtual illuminated environment to get realistic visual images of what a person will see.
“We worked through the tools to get an impression of light output from the geometry,” said Rob Butterworth, design engineer for the project. “SPEOS gave us the opportunity to show the existing design was performing well to achieve what we wanted. The idea was to increase the light intensity over a smaller area like a spotlight.”
The GravityLight, which is currently under development, does not require batteries or sunlight, and it costs nothing to run beyond the device’s purchase price, according to the foundation. Developers said they hope to help families save on kerosene costs and ultimately pull themselves out of poverty.
Filed Under: Rapid prototyping