A considerable amount of resources have been dedicated to finding a sustainable means of providing electricity to those suffering from poverty. In order to create a solution for such a complex problem, a tremendous amount of creativity, innovation and resources have been directed toward finding an answer. Thus far, one idea has managed to utilize the same power that keeps our entire earth in orbit — gravity.
GravityLight, a new product created by the London-based design consultancy firm Deciwatt, does just that. The light is entirely powered by a specific weight, usually around 10 kilograms. This weight can be anything, including sand, stones or even water. As the weight descends due to gravitational force, the kinetic energy created by this process is converted into light by a handful of small gears within the self-contained mechanism. The light lasts anywhere from 28 minutes to 12 minutes, depending on what setting the light is on. It requires no batteries, and can be used repeatedly without any running costs.
The best part about this technology? The entire apparatus only costs $6. For the price of a hamburger, families can buy a source of light more reliable than a kerosene lamp.
Naturally there was some original skepticism surrounding the product. GravityLight was almost shelved entirely in 2012, due to a lack of funding. Jim Reeves, co-creator/inventor of GravityLight said, “In truth, at first it didn’t go well. But it’s an iterative process. You see what doesn’t work, you move on. You see what doesn’t work, and you improve upon it.”
Eventually inertia kicked in, the word spread and the product began to gain traction. The original fundraising goal was to raise $55,000. However, the campaign massively exceeded expectations by raising $399,590 thus far. This has allowed for the product to become even more accessible to those who need it.
The end goal is to eventually make GravityLight commercially available. While the producers of the technology haven’t hit that goal yet, they are currently on track to pursue mass production by next year. With any luck, GravityLight will provide hundreds of thousands of people with a source of light more stable than any other form of electricity.
– Andre Gobbo