A company called MPowerd has developed a new solar-powered light for third-world and developing countries, called Luci. It uses a rechargeable lithion-ion battery, which gets its juice from the sun. Luci takes approximately 6 hours to charge, then provides anywhere from 6-12 hours of light.
Luci weighs just 4 ounces, making it lightweight and easily portable. Yet, it provides up to 15 sq ft of direct light via 10 LEDs. Its battery will maintain a charge for up to three months, and its life expectancy is more than a year, assuming regular use (charge/discharge cycles). It has two brightness levels to help conserve the battery, and has a flashing mode for emergency situations.
Why does Luci matter, you ask? Around the world, more than 1.5 billion people don’t have access to power, and at least that many don’t have access to reliable power, due to low-quality power grids. That’s nearly half the world’s population. Luci can be used as a reliable backup, or even a primary source of light. It doesn’t rely on on kerosene, which is frequently used in third-world countries. Breathing in fumes from kerosene has been linked to pulmonary disease and cancer, neither of which developing countries are equipped to treat.
The only barrier I see with Luci is cost. If you’re reading this, you already have access to power, and most certainly the Internet, which from an economic perspective, puts you well above the target users of Luci. While the $16 dollar cost may not seem like much to you and me, it’s a safe bet that you make more than $2/day – the people Luci is meant for. That’s more than a week’s wages for them.
You can find out more about Luci on MPowerd’s website, here.
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