Over 1.3 billion people—20 percent of the world’s population—are without access to electricity worldwide, according to the World Bank. It’s no surprise that the majority of those people live in developing countries, including 550 million in Africa, and over 400 million in India.
In developing countries, wood, charcoal, coal and dung are used for cooking and heating, and kerosene is often used for lighting. Every year, fumes and smoke from these fuels kill approximately 1.5 million people, mostly women and children. Kerosene lamps are highly toxic and a fire risk, as well as very expensive for many struggling families.
But two British designers have come up with a novel way to generate light without the need for fossil fuels or battery packs. The premise is simple: raise a weight (about 10 kg/20 lb), and then release it slowly to power an LED lamp that can shed up to 30 minutes of…
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