GravityLight: Doing More With Less- Designing For The Bottom Of The Pyramid

Monday, June 9, 2014

Globally, 1.3 billion people do not have access to electricity. Millions more are ‘under-electrified’, with unreliable and sporadic supply. Instead they typically rely on kerosene for lighting. Hazardous, expensive and polluting, there is a real need to replace kerosene with a safer, sustainable and affordable light.

GravityLight was born from a challenge by SolarAid to create a ‘ruthlessly affordable’ solar light, costing below $6.

Rather than downgrading materials and lowering quality to meet this target price, designers Martin Riddiford and Jim Reeves quickly realized the need to look beyond solar and battery power to reach such a low price

They started from the users’ perspective, taking a different approach to benchmarking the amount of power and light needed, asking “is it better than a kerosene lamp?” This led them to explore what much lower levels of power could deliver.

In this way, Martin and Jim created a device that generates light from gravity, with no batteries or solar panels, which are the bulk of the cost of solar lights. This enables GravityLight to be used anytime, repeatedly, without needing to be charged in the sun nor reliant on battery capacity and lifespan.

Source: Business Fights Poverty (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
Base of the Pyramid, public health, rural development