In areas of developing countries where electricity is either unreliable or non-existent, kerosene lamps are the go-to choice for illuminating a household in the evening. Unfortunately, inhaling burning kerosene is not all that healthy for the human body and an accidentally knocked-over open flame can quickly turn a home into a tinderbox.
In lieu of electricity for all, an ingenious device that will render carcinogen-spouting kerosene obsolete is on the cusp of going into mass-production in Kenya.
GravityLight is a lamp that does not need batteries, fuel or even sun to emit light – because, of course, it uses gravity to generate energy. Safe, reusable and free of of harmful energy sources, GravityLight looks like a godsend to kerosene-dependent homes across the world.
As well as having a reputation as fuming death traps, kerosene lamps are also expensive, in some cases consuming up to 30% of a family’s income. GravityLight meanwhile, costs less than 10 dollars.
The GravityLight team are paying special attention to Kenya and are banking on the product creating jobs for Kenyans who will be able to manufacture and sell the lamps.
IFLS explain how the GravityLight works in practice:
The mechanics are quite simple. The lamp works on a pulley system: A maximum 11 kilogram (24 pound) weight is hoisted up with a beaded cord. Once the weight reaches the top of the pulley, the user can let go, allowing the weight to slowly descend. As it drops, the bead cord passes through a connected train that lights a bright LED. And once the weight hits the floor, the process can be repeated. The entire cycle lasts 20-30 minutes.
GravityLight are currently running an Indiegogo campaign to raise money for the device. With a month of fundraising left to go, the campaign is past the halfway mark and on course to hit its $199,000 goal.