Spread­ing d.light

Enterprise - - Innovation -

Some 1.6 bil­lion peo­ple have no ac­cess to elec­tric­ity around the world. In Pak­istan; ap­prox­i­mately 40 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion is still de­prived of elec­tric­ity. This un­der­priv­i­leged sec­tion de­pends on alternative sources of light, which of­ten varies from in­con­ve­nient can­dle light to haz­ardous kerosene lamps.

Kerosene lamps do not only pro­duce in­suf­fi­cient light but also emit harm­ful fumes. Th­ese lamps are one of the ma­jor causes be­hind fre­quent burn and fire ac­ci­dents as well.

Two stu­dents at Stan­ford Univer­sity’s In­sti­tute of De­sign, Sam Gold­man and Ned Tozun, have cre­ated an af­ford­able and por­ta­ble so­lar recharge­able LED lamps known as ‘ De­sign for ex­treme af­ford­abil­ity’. Both worked to­gether to find pos­si­ble al­ter­na­tives to light sources. They de­cided to closely an­a­lyse the chal­lenges and went to South­east Asia. Af­ter ex­am­in­ing the money vil­lagers spend on ex­pen­sive kerosene lamps, which are a ma­jor cause be­hind grue­some burn ac­ci­dents, both Sam and Ned de­cided to re­place kerosene lamps with af­ford­able alternative so­lu­tions. Their rough models of LED lamps be­came im­mensely pop­u­lar in the vil­lage they vis­ited. This pushed them to launch their prod­uct on a larger scale and to the cre­ation of their com­pany named d. light.

Stud­ies re­veal that in­di­vid­u­als who pre­vi­ously spent 10 per­cent of their in­come on the dan­ger­ous kerosene lamps can in­crease their house­hold in­come by 30 per­cent af­ter switch­ing to d. light. The re­li­able source of light also in­creases pro­duc­tiv­ity, as both stu­dents and crafts­men can spend more hours do­ing their work. The bright light of d. light has the abil­ity to im­prove me­mory re­ten­tion, prov­ing highly ben­e­fi­cial for stu­dents. prov­ing a bless­ing for al­most 1.1 mil­lion in­di­vid­u­als. Af­ter sell­ing over 220,000 so­lar lamps in 32 coun­tries, d. light has now stepped into Pak­istan, to re­duce the use of lanterns. The so­lar lamps are avail­able in ar­eas with lit­tle or no ac­cess to elec­tric­ity.

The in­no­va­tive lights are be­ing used in the US and Ja­pan at re­lief camps. The US has pro­vided Pak­istan with thou­sands of the so­lar lanterns, fol­low­ing the dis­as­trous floods in 2011.

The S1, S10 and S250 are ca­pa­ble of pro­vid­ing four, eight and even one hun­dred hours of light ( if used at the low­est set­ting), re­spec­tively. Prices vary as S1 is avail­able for Rs. 1,200 and S10 sells at Rs. 2,000. S250 al­lows cell phone charg­ing and is slightly ex­pen­sive at Rs. 4,000.

The so­lar lanterns dis­trib­uted to the flood re­lief camps helped in chang­ing the mind- set of peo­ple liv­ing in the ru­ral ar­eas to a cer­tain ex­tent. How­ever, apart from the distri­bu­tion process, spread­ing aware­ness re­gard­ing the ac­tual worth of us­ing d. light prod­ucts in­stead of kerosene lanterns still re­mains a chal­leng­ing task. Reg­u­lar do­na­tions of so­lar lanterns to var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ties which are off the elec­tri­cal grid will help in es­tab­lish­ing d. light prod­ucts as an alternative and re­li­able source of light.

Af­ter sur­vey­ing the im­pov­er­ished ar­eas of Africa with lit­tle or no ac­cess to elec­tric­ity, a bunch of Har­vard Univer­sity stu­dents have also come up with the in­no­va­tive idea of con­vert­ing ki­netic en­ergy into elec­tri­cal en­ergy. The idea was also well pack­aged, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing lo­cal needs and the soc­cer cul­ture in Africa, and they devel­oped the ‘ S0cket soc­cer ball’. The soc­cer ball serves as an eco- friendly por­ta­ble gen­er­a­tor that trans­forms ki­netic en­ergy pro­duced dur­ing play into stored elec­tri­cal en­ergy. Merely 10 min­utes of play time is enough to pro­vide 3 hours of en­ergy. The ball cur­rently costs around $ 60-$ 75. The Har­vard team is work­ing on a prod­uct that will be more af­ford­able. Once they achieve their ob­jec­tive, the s0cket soc­cer ball would hopefully be launched in other de­vel­op­ing coun­tries in­clud­ing Pak­istan.

The com­pany was highly suc­cess­ful in In­dia, China and Tan­za­nia,

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