A new design for a solar powered light called LuminAID has caught our attention. Quite different from any design we've seen before, the light is actually an inflatable, waterproof bag that contains an LED bulb, and a solar cell on the outside. Created as a solution both for backpacking or disaster relief, the design shows a lot of promise for a compact light that expands when needed.
The bag can be folded up and shipped as a tiny package -- as many as 50 can be shipped in the same space that about eight flashlights take up. The inflatable bag distributes the light from the LED and reduces glare. Because it is waterproof, it can be used outside. And it can be charging up all day with the solar cell, hung from any surface from a backpack to the side of a home.
The solar cell charges a battery that can hold enough electricity for six hours of light on the low setting, or 4 hours of light on the high setting. Because these lights are meant to be used in developing or disaster-stricken areas, that is enough time for someone to cook a meal or study their school work in the evening -- something they may only be able to do by the light of unhealthy, polluting kerosene lamps.
It takes about 6 hours of sunlight for a full charge, and the batteries can be recharged up to 800 times.
The light seems to address many issues in one compact, smart design. The project has a fundraising goal of $10,000 for production of these lamps, and you can place a pre-order with your contribution to the fundraising goals. For each lamp sold, a second will be donated -- think of it like the Tom's Shoes model of get one, give one -- during the launch of the LuminAID in January of 2012. Check out their project on Indiegogo.
Here's a video highlighting the problems the design addresses -- such as other solar light designs being too bulky or expensive to be practical for shipping for disaster relief.
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