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Lighting the Way — London

by Anne Miltenburg

Over 1.5 billion people on the planet have no reliable access to electricity. They rely on biomass fuels for lighting the long, dark evenings. The expense and health risks pose a severe limit to their opportunities for study and home employment. Designers have been trying to develop cheap, sustainable lighting for a long time, but perhaps Martin Riddiford and Jim Reeves have come up with the best solution to date. Their GravityLight cleverly uses a dynamo that is charged by a pulley system. Attaching a weight to the lamp and pulling the strap takes only three seconds and can provide up to 30 minutes of light as the weight descends, driving the dynamo. GravityLight is currently in testing, and its backers aim to create a mass-produced version to be distributed by NGOs and governments at a cost of US$5 per lamp.

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