Sometimes, great ideas do fall from the sky
GravityLight is an idea so bright, it could help put out millions of unhealthy kerosene lamps around the world for good.
Think about the things you couldn't live without.
This article was originally published by Mashable.
Perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is a luxury item, like a car, smartphone or even a television. Or maybe you're a little more practical, thinking of food, water or shelter. But what about something simple — something so fundamental to daily life that it's easily taken for granted — like light?
According to the World Bank, a staggering one in seven people across the world live without electricity. So when the sun sets in the evening, more than one billion people may face a darkness they can't escape by merely flipping on a switch.
Instead, those without electricity are forced to lean on more basic solutions, like kerosene lamps. And that's the real heart of the problem.
Although kerosene is widely available, it can be a costly and dangerous source of energy. Studies show that kerosene expenses can consume up to 30% of the monthly income for some of the world's poorest families. Worst yet, open kerosene flames are common causes for burn trauma and home destruction, and much like cigarette smoke, the fumes from gas lamps may also contribute to cancer.
All told, kerosene-fueled lamps can be a harmful business.
But GravityLight, the 2015 Shell Springboard winner has come up with a bright idea that can help parts of the world kick kerosene once and for all.
Can you get light from a bag of rocks?
Endless light using Earth's most abundant resource: Gravity
GravityLight is an affordable, reusable off-grid light source that doesn't require electricity or battery power. Combining kinetic and potential energy, GravityLight works by connecting an elevated weight — filled with rocks or sand — to a pulley system that slowly powers a generator as the weight falls to the ground.
The result of the innovative, kinetic-drive device is free light that can exist virtually anywhere, with no added costs.
GravityLight got its start after a successful Indiegogo campaign in which the startup received enough funding to produce prototypes for 1,300 off-the-grid families. And now, after making tweaks to the original model, GravityLight is ready to release the GravityLight 2.0, to be manufactured in Kenya, where the devices are most in-demand.
In March 2015, GravityLight was named the Shell Springboard Award winner and granted £150,000 to help expand its reach. This support from Shell, coupled with the success of the startup's ongoing crowd-funding effort, "Made in Africa," has ensured that the company's second market foray in 2016 will be a success.
“The funding has really helped us scale up our operation, providing us with the resources needed to explore GravityLight’s place in the wider humanitarian and relief markets," says GravityLight Commercial Director, Caroline Angus.
Shell hasn't been the only one to recognise GravityLight, either. In 2013, Bill Gates took to Twitter and called the device, "a pretty cool innovation."
With increased funding and the public's attention, the London-based shop is looking to expand the product's reach and applications — attempting to position GravityLight as a disaster relief tool — and also hopes to create a GravityLight-inspired radio.
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