After reading the MeterPlug pitch on Indiegogo I decided to browser the site to see if other projects currently running on the site would catch my attention. GravityLight immediately caught my attention for a number of reasons. First, it is a charity project which means that funding the project may not only get you one of the lights, but also people in the developing world. Second, the technology behind GravityLight is interesting. It is a device that produces a light source, or power, using gravity and nothing but. It comes without battery, solar panels or any other form of energy producing or storing capabilities. Since it does not require a battery, it is not only environmentally friendly, but also less prone to require regular replacements as batteries deteriorate over time.
Solar may look like a great idea especially for places like Africa but the problem with solar is that you need a way to store power to have access to it at times when the sun is not available, and that usually means some form of battery again.
GravityLight is a low cost lighting solution, the developers state that it costs about $10 to produce a single unit right now and that they hope to drop the costs with the help of the funding to $5 for a single unit.
So how does it work? The device consists of a body that includes the lamp and the power generation unit, and a weight that is used to produce the power. From what I can tell, you need to fill the weight with sand or rocks and lift it up for a couple of seconds. Power gets generated automatically from then on until the weight reaches the initial position again which seems to be good for 30 minutes of lighting. You can then lift the weight up again to produce additional power and lighting.
The idea behind GravityLight was to manufacturer a light to act as a replacement for Kerosene lamps used in many parts of the developing world. Not only is Kerosene in the long run more expensive, it is also causing health issues and producing Carbon Dioxide.
Some funding options:
GravityLight demonstration video
The project has already reached the goal of 55,000 and is on its way to make it past the $200,000 mark in the next couple of days. Estimated delivery for the lights is March 2013.
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