It may sound like an impossible dream, but two designers in London, Martin Riddiford and Jim Reeves have built functioning prototypes of GravityLight, a cheap way for people indeveloping countries t0 light homes, recharge batteries, or power a radio.
And they just exceeded their Indiegogo fundraising goal by more than 500 percent with 21 days left in their campaign, so they’ll have the resources to mass-produce the light for less than $5 a unit.
The goal is to provide clean, efficient light for the 1.5 billion human beings on this planet who still do not have reliable access to electricity and use kerosene-powered lamps.
According to Riddiford and Reeves, the use of kerosene results in vastly higher cancer rates due to smoke inhalation,and 2.5 million burn victims due to dropped or jostled lamps every year in India alone.
Not to mention the cost: 10 percent to 20 percent of a household’s income in the developing world can go to fuel for lighting.
The initial run of 1,000 GravityLights will be distributed for free to villagers in Africa and India, the designers say.
Based on the results, they will tweak the product and then seek NGO and non-profit organizations’ help in distributing it even more widely.