Gravity Light

This sounds like a breakthrough to replace fossil fuel home lighting in remote areas.

What do you think?

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What a fantastic concept.  They really have reinvented the wheel, so to speak.  I can envision larger scale devices used to power entire lighting for a household, much like a generator.  

Yes, I was thinking that instead of lifting, it should swivel so the person could push a harness like plowing. Leg muscles are stronger than arms. Or for an entire household, imagine going upstairs and then winding a spring by sitting on a seat that lowers to the first floor.

Emergency lighting of this kind would work for plenty of situations. Take it on a hiking trip for example to light the tent instead of fuel. If the power grid becomes unreliable due to storms, a gravity lamp would be handy as backup in any household. You don't have to worry about running out of fuel if the outage lasts weeks.

Fantastic! And it's also useful for us when the lights go out. I found in the Fair Trade Shop a torch with LEDlamp and a handle: turn the handle for two minutes and the batteries are charged.

I live in a remote area. Western Nebraska is just as empty as any place in Africa. And as an electronics technician (my actual training, not the erotic Romance editing I do on the side):

As far as efficient, yes. It only uses the fossil fuels to mine, transport raw materials, manufacture, transport to the location to use (the lion's share of actual fossil fuel use for this or most electrical devices). As an alternative example of "you get something for nothing energy," I submit shaving. An electric razor (though it plugs in) uses less fossil fuels and other resources than disposable ones.

And of course, when the device fails, you replace the entire device. Not just a single lamp. Thus it actually adds to the manufacture-consume-dispose economy. It is not a green device. It is greenwashing.

And unless you only want a 15W light for half-an-hour, (about the same as a booklight), it is not very useful.

As far as it's use as a real lighting instrument, or running computers or any other sort of actual electrical device (such as purifying water, where unpure water kills far more than lack of light), no.

Most folk in this rural area get up with the sun, go to bed with the sun, and that is that. The sun is free, and does not involve all that manufacture I mentioned above.

The only purpose of lighting after dark is staying up after dark. (That means in my village my wife and I are about the only ones who do it.)

It is not actually a "gravity light." It is a human-powered light. (The energy is imparted by humans in the same way as winding a mechanical clock - which I own and is about eighty years old, has an alarm, and even a sleep setting).

Moreover, the idea of human-powered generator lights has been around for fifty or more years (I own a flashlight which you shake and it runs a magnet back and forth to act as a generator to charge a battery). If there were an actual market for such devices, they would already be made.

Many such fundraising Websites promote ideas that never get off the ground. It can be considered a form of venture charity (most of the charity goes down a sinkhole and never turns into actual charity).

Venture charity, interesting concept. Certainly it's a human powered light. I thought the idea was mostly to move around safely in your house at night when there's no power. You don't need a huge amount of light to eliminate total darkness. When the baby wakes up at 3AM, you need something.

As for they would already have been made, let's wait to see how successful their pilot program is. If they provide enough light to replace a kerosene lantern or candles, at cheaper cost, without being too much of a burden on muscle power, then they'll sell. Otherwise they'll disappear.

If you want green shaving, the antique straight razor beats razor blades. My grandfather used to use one. They last as long as a sturdy knife and the metal can be recycled afterwards.

I use a straight razor, which can also be sharpened. And a sickle instead of a weed-whacker. And most business-style letters I write on my 1914 Royal Office typewriter. (All of which require actual exercise to use or maintain, will likely never break, and thus do not add to the buy use consume dispose economy.)

I do not own things like a 54" mega-pixel plasma television (nor any television at all). My wife and I have a tiny footprint on the county landfill (one kitchen garbage bag a week).

We plumped for a recycling company to come in the village and set up a trailer that residents could take recyclables to, not expecting much out of the village. (There is a large preponderance of elderly here, and the village provides dumpsters for trash behind every home).

Nevertheless, with the recycling company kicking back a percentage to the village for the recycled goods, the money goes into paying the trash company. Moreover, as more people started using the recycling trailer, the trash hauling bill to the village (figured on weight) went down.

My wife is engaged in a new project. The only places that have Internet service in town are the general store, the village clerk's office, the public library, and my house. (The post office has only an intranet with the Postal Service.)

The vast majority of the village uses the public library's computers to access the Internet and such things as E-mail, but the library is currently closed as it is moving to a new location.

She obtained an old computer from the schoolhouse, refurbished it, ditched Windows and replaced it with Linux (no lisence fee), and will be setting it up in the village hall as a public-access computer, to tide over the village until the library reopens.

I'm all for recycling, and even more for reuse (better than recycling).

This sounds far greener than my lifestyle. But I could not imagine life without my TV. *blush*

The math doesn't add up.  A 10 kg mass, lifted by 1 meter near the surface of the earth, acquires 100 Joules of potential energy.  With 100% perfect conversion efficiency, that energy amounts to 1W of power for 100 seconds. 

Contrast that with a cell phone lithium-ion battery wafer... it produces typically around 4 W-hours of energy, or about 150W of power for 100 seconds.  In other words, your cell phone has 150 times more power than the power-available from a person lifting a fairly heavy (22 pound) weight by a distance of one meter.

I don't see how this can work as a useful illumination source.




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