Bright ideas needed!

No batteries. No burning. No ongoing costs. Just light.

GravityLight: lighting for developing countries, by deciwatt.

Contributions welcome!

(Note: the closing date of the funding appeal is Tuesday 15 January 2013).

Check out Learning from Dogs for a more comprehensive write-up 🙂


About pendantry

Phlyarologist (part-time) and pendant. Campaigner for action against anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and injustice in all its forms. Humanist, atheist, notoftenpist. Wannabe poet, writer and astronaut.
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17 Responses to Bright ideas needed!

  1. jpgreenword says:

    That is sooooooooo cool! And when you think about it, gravity is just like sunlight and wind: a free source of energy!
    What a wonderful idea. I truly hope their project succeeds.

    • pendantry says:

      Judging by the response to their indiegogo campaign, it has already done five times better than their lowest expectations — $254,583 raised of $55,000 goal. I suggested that they should make the casings from wood (or some reusable material rather than plastic) — and then enable the very people they want to help to make them themselves. Whether they’ll bite on that idea, well, dunno…

  2. leavergirl says:

    Hm…so why is the vid so cough cough spare on how this actually works?
    Spare is an overstatment. It does not say at all. The other link says that some weight goes down and powers the light for half an hour. Huh?

    • pendantry says:

      Are you suggesting that it’s somehow unworkable? I see no problem with translating potential energy to electricity (though I don’t pretend to know exactly how it’s done, mind you). LEDs need very little oomph, as I understand it.

      • leavergirl says:

        Right, but I am suspicious of promotional vids that hype a newfangled idea without telling you how it works. Enough of that with the zero energy people…

        • leavergirl says:

          Yahoo says: “Attached to the lamp, which is expected to retail for around $10 when it comes to market, is a bag that can hold about 20 pounds of sand or rocks and gravel which acts as the fuel when combined with gravity.

          The bag is build to descend under the weight of the materials which then triggers a set of gears that translate the force into power and light. It also works as a generator and can be used to charge radios and batteries.”

          Sounds peachy.

          • pendantry says:

            I’m assuming you’ve used copy-paste (seems fair; why would you waste time typing it out?):
            “… is a bag that can hold about 20 pounds of sand or rocks and gravel which acts as the fuel when combined with gravity.”
            The bag is build…

            I get the distinct impression that whoever wrote that doesn’t really understand how it works. There’s no way in which the contents of the bag can be considered to be ‘fuel’, and as for ‘when combined with gravity’, well, um. And ‘the bag is build’? It’s been some years since I used the Yahoo search engine; even if that does still exist, you’ve succeeded in convincing me not to bother trying to use Yahoo for any serious information requests.

  3. leavergirl says:

    Mmm? I am assuming they say it acts like an old fashioned grandfather clock… you wind it by lifting the weight, and off it goes, ticking. So the gears, powered by the weight + gravity, are doing the work that, in another context, could produce electricity. Am I still confused?

  4. leavergirl says:

    If they want to give the light away to people in poorer parts of the world, why not simply make it open source, and have all the maker labs around the world go crazy improving it? Nah… what was I thinking… 😦

    • pendantry says:

      I agree with you completely. In fact I’ve already suggested to them that if they are genuinely interested in helping the people at whom they’re aiming this widget, they should do two things: a) design it such that the surround is made from renewable materials, not plastic, and b) devote resources to enabling these ‘poor’ people to make the things themselves. I, like, I think, you, am cynical about the goals of any business aimed at providing ‘solutions’ where the main aim is primarily to line the developers’ own pockets…

      • leavergirl says:

        Sigh. What made science so powerful was the fact that every new discovery went into shared intellectual commons. Why are people still not getting it?

        • pendantry says:

          One word: greed.

          • jpgreenword says:

            I would also add that many governments are moving away from science “for science’s sake”. If you look at Canada (where I live), our federal government has said that it will only support science that has financial value. I’ve argued on my blog that it should be the complete opposite: funding science for financial value should be the role of companies and corporations. Funding basic research should be the role of governments. Because, if governments don’t fund that research, who will?

        • pendantry says:

          Very good point, JP. Any munny mislabeled as ‘government money’ originates from and, in theory at least, should be controlled by the people. I’m one of ‘the people’, and I believe that pure research has a value that is greater than for-profit research.

          Too many misdeeds are done in the name of (increasingly oxymoronic) ‘economic common sense’.

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