Gravity-powered lamp could soon bring 1.5b people out of darkness
A British company hopes to bring electric light to 1.5billion people who live off the grid with an incredible electric light that is powered by gravity.
The GravityLight uses a sack of sand to gradually pull a piece of rope through a dynamo mechanism which generates electricity to power an LED light.
Its makers claim that a three-second pull on the rope to raise the sack will keep the LED bulb running for up to 30 minutes.
The light, named GravityLight, works by suspending a bag filled with a heavy substance like rocks, dirt or sand from the light.
London-based design and innovation initiative deciwatt.org designed the GravityLight as a sustainable lighting solution for the 1.5billion people in the world who have no reliable access to electricity.
Most of these people rely on biomass fuels like kerosene for lighting once the Sun goes down, but such fuels can be hazardous to health - as well as posing a fire risk.
Deciwatt.org, a division within design company Therefore, which came up with the casing for the Psion range of handheld computers, say the trend for rapid advances in technology has made their product possible.
Their website cites Koomey's law, a lesser-known parallel to Moore's law, which describes how the number of computations possible per joule of energy has doubled roughly every year and a half since the Fifties.
The flip side of this is that relatively simple devices progressively need less energy to run, making possible a whole range of relatively simple gadgets that can be powered by unconventional means.
The GravityLight was co-invented by Martin Riddiford, who designed the Psion hardware, and Jim Reeves, both directors at London-based Therefore.
"We've done a number of projects, including the Psion products - where the requirements were incredibly efficient in terms of power usage," the Daily Mail quoted Riddiford as telling The Register.
"The digital age has made products much power hungry but now there's a reversal of that - everyone's chasing lower power again," he added.