© Merklit Mersha via Little Sun
For people living in rural areas and developing countries, there is a serious problem of finding light sources that are not deadly. Kerosene lamps, the most common solution for light after dark, is a toxic option. Inexpensive and long-lasting solutions are a designer's challenge and many have come up with various types of solar-powered LED lights. However, the Little Sun stands out by its shape.
© Desta Mahdere via Little Sun
Made to look like a yellow sun, the lamp wants to be as much a light source as a work of art representing a problem and solution to millions around the world. The creator, artist Olafur Eliasson of Iceland collaborated with engineer Frederik Ottesen to come up with the design, and he notes in the video below that the inspiration came more from solving a problem of access to such a simple resource as clean lighting as trying to create a new tool. Thus it is both a light for those living in developing areas and a work of art for those in modernized areas who may have forgotten that roughly 1.6 billion people go without such privilege as light after dark.
The Little Sun has a powerful LED light, and charges with a mono-crystalline solar module. Four hours of charging provides five hours of light, and the solar cell is good for 1,000 charges or three years of use.
Solar lighting for rural and developing areas is a solution to the real problem of toxic kerosene lamps, but this little LED light strives to be a work of art too.