Clever Engineering for a Good Cause


Deciwatt” a project that started out as a crowd funding campaign on indiegogo with the purpose to create a sustainable and affordable light source for developing countries, has now produced the first batch of its gravity powered lamp. Some of this first lamps go to the projects indiegogo supporters while the rest is used in a field trail in developing countries.

The lamp, like a grandfather clock, uses a hanging weight as the energy source to drive an electric generator. It needs no battery replacement, no expensive solar cells only 3 seconds of human power to lift the weight that on decent generates 25 minutes of light.

From the project description:

GravityLight only generates a deciwatt or two of power but has a superior light to the majority of kerosene lamps used by those without electricity, as well as being significantly more sustainable, safe and healthy. With no running costs, at $10, a GravityLight would pay for itself within a few months, freeing people from fuel poverty and the increasing costs of kerosene.

As LEDs continue to rapidly increase their lumens per watt and – as Koomey’s Law predicts – the energy efficiency of devices doubles every two years – this has huge implications for low cost, off grid lighting as well as computing and communication equipment. This is the driving force behind Deciwatt’s mission to explore how to do more with less.

A great example of clever engineering for a good cause. And also a good example for the possibility that crowd funding provides to finance and realize such projects.