Too Much Darkness in This World
The World Bank reported in April of 2017, that one in seven people in the world live without electricity. That means once the sun goes down, life stops. No more work for adults, no more homework for children. Just darkness.
Some chose to burn kerosene or other fossil fuels in their homes, if they can afford it since it costs 15-25% of their annual income. This practice is terrible for their health, causing lung cancer, COPD and pneumonia to name a few. The light it provides is sub-par, making work or homework more difficult than it should be. And it's the leading cause of house fires in developing countries, which are particularly dangerous since homes are densely located and made from flammable materials. While some devices have attempted to solve this problem, they all have their limitations.
Dimly Lit Solutions
There's no shortage of solar solutions on the market, but my biggest problem with them is that they all depend on external conditions. What if it's not sunny that day? What if I forget to charge my light in the sun? What if I don't have the chance to? What do I do if my light runs out halfway through my homework?
Recently an innovative solution known as the GravityLight was developed. It produces 20-25 minutes of light as a weight drops from the unit, and then you have to reset it. Every. Twenty. Minutes. Getting work done is hard enough, but now my lights turn off every 20 minutes? No thanks. And forget about taking it off the ceiling and moving it around. Where it is, is where it stays.
Another interesting solution that had high hopes was the Soccket, a soccer ball that generated enough energy to power an LED lamp. But it was eventually reported that some of the lights stopped working in as little as 3 days.
Not only did the lights go out, the balls fell apart. So it failed as a light AND as a ball. Woof.
Ahh the tried and true hand-crank flashlight. Plain and simple. Have you ever tried cranking one of these for light? How soon until you thought your arm was going to fall off?
Surely in our world of abundance, there must be an effective solution to democratize light.
The Light at the End of the Tunnel
The main driver for my design was to make the device independent from external conditions. If you need light, you should be able to have it right then and there. This constraint got me on the path of electromagnetic induction. But wait Geoff, that's exactly what current solutions use! Are we going to create yet another hand-crank flashlight?? Hell no.
If I'm making a generator, it CANNOT be the brother of the hand-crank flashlight. Not even it's distant cousin. It must be completely different. It must be easy effort. So is there a method of creating ridiculously high RPM with minimal effort? Why yes there is, and it's called the gyroscopic exercise ball. With the internal ball reaching upwards of 22,000 RPM with the rhythmic motion of just one hand, it's said to be the fastest human powered device.
It only makes sense to convert the weighted core to a magnetic rotor, position coils around the shell, and then light up the world with the GyroLight.
[Note: The magnet and coil size, position, and orientation is shown for conceptual purposes. The device has not yet been optimized for human powered energy generation.]
The device is about as small as a tennis ball, so it's made for portability.
It's outer shell has areas around it's perimeter that are flattened. Allowing multiple lighting angles when rested on a table or ground.
It's small size allows it to be easily hung from a ceiling or mounted on a wall to light large areas.
Letting My Light Shine
It is clear that developing a cost efficient, easy effort, independent lighting solution for developing countries would have a massive net positive impact on our world. It would decrease their dependence on fossil fuels along with their inhalation of dangerous fumes. The money they save could be better spent to raise them out of poverty. The additional lighted...Read more »