When we talk about going off-grid, or otherwise unplugging from traditional power sources, it usually involves solar or wind power, or some other alternative that doesn't involved your local utility. Young designer Clay Moulton has figured out how to harness a different source to create electricity: gravity.
"Gravia" is his LED-lit floor lamp that combines human power and gravity to create a lighting source that will work for 200 years or so, and never need to be plugged in. The lamp has a weight that's raised every four hours or so; as it slowly descends, the downward motion is converted to torque via a high-efficiency ball screw. The torque is overdriven (at 1:160 for those of you scoring at home) by a harmonic drive gear hand, and the output from that spins a set of 12 high-strength neodymium magnets (which act as the rotor), spinning to power 10 high-output LEDs. Simple, no?Gravia's light output of 600-800 lumens is roughly equal to a 40 watt incandescent bulb is all thanks to this slick system, which recalls hourglass-like timekeeping; every four hours or so, the process starts again with a little help from human power, and it's probably worth a little lifting to keep it going: Moulton has calculated that, with 8 hours of use 365 days a year, the lamp will last for more than 200 years, and will only get better with age.
The acrylic lens will be altered by time in an attractive fashion, Moulton says. "The LEDs produce a slightly unnatural blue-ish light. As the acrylic ages, it becomes slightly yellowed and crazed through exposure to ultraviolet light," he said. "The yellowing and crazing will tend to mitigate the unnatural blue hue of the LED light. Thus, Gravia will produce a more natural color of light with age."
The design, part of his master's thesis at the College of Architecture and Urban Studies in 2007, recently won him second prize at the Greener Gadgets Design Competition (watch a video of the winners for more), which was a ton of fun, if our video wrap was any indication. Now that gravity power has come down from the stratosphere, we'll look for more concepts that put it to good use. ::Greener Gadgets Design Competition at Core77 via ::Sawf News and ::DVICE