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How Gravity Could Help Save the Earth and Its Residents
January 16, 2013
Smoking kills. That shouldn’t come as much of a brow-raiser. But did you know that in most parts of the world, it’s not necessarily tar, nicotine and carcinogens that are leading to early deaths? It’s smoke.
According to The World Bank, 60% of adult, female lung-cancer cases in developing nations are attributed to non-smokers. In these nations, kerosene lamps are the primary resource for light once the sun sets. Burning kerosene conjures up a thick, weighty smoke that, when continually inhaled, can cause irreparable damage to both human and natural bodies. It’s estimated that kerosene burning creates an additional 244 million tons of CO2 to be released into our already-depleted atmosphere each year.
Finding a low-cost, viable alternative to kerosene lamps has been a topic of interest for decades of scientific research. Now, a two-man startup out of London has conceived what they believe to be a solution: GravityLight.
GravityLight does exactly what its name would indicate: It illuminates through a pulley system that relies exclusively on gravity. For users, the build is simple: First, fill an accompanying bag with about 20 pounds of whatever you can get your hands on, whether that’s dirt, rocks, sand or paperweights. Attach the bag to a hook that dangles beneath the light, bend with your legs, and lift. Once in position, the bag will slowly rapel, sparking a serious of gears inside the GravityLight that will generate about 30 minutes of light.
In areas without access to solar energy collection or wind turbines, GravityLight could be a life-changer. Whether it’s a matter of cost or availability, typical renewable energy resources aren’t always an option — especially for impoverished areas and less-developed countries. Gravity, however, is about as universal as it gets. And the 30-minute return with minimal effort on the user’s end is tough to beat.
Creators Martin Riddiford and Jim Reeves aren’t only looking into its feasibility for poorer countries, however. While that’s the top priority, the duo has made the light available for consumers all over the world. With some additional tune-ups and refinement, they hope to get the cost down to about $5 per device. No bigger than your average lantern, GravityLight could fit snugly on a front porch or in the recesses of your garage.
Thanks to their wildly successful Indiegogo campaign, through which they just received 726% ($399,525) of their original $55,000 goal,GravityLight could be a huge boon for both our earth and its residents.