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Gravity powers new lamp for developing countries

Safer than kerosene and cheaper than solar, the GravityLight could help illuminate thousands of households in developing countries. Supporters can get a GravityLight of their own to try out.

The GravityLight shines a light on problems with kerosene.

It's easy to take our electric lights for granted. Many people in developing counties don't have the luxury of electric grids and have to rely on kerosene lamps to brighten the night. Kerosene costs money and breathing the fumes is dangerous. A new light powered by gravity could be a superior solution to lighting needs.

GravityLight doesn't need to be recharged through solar cells. It doesn't use batteries at all. It's powered by the same force that keeps our feet on the ground. A weight attached to the light takes 3 seconds to lift up, but provides 30 minutes of light as it descends.

One major goal is to eventually get the cost down to $5 per light, making it a very affordable purchase for people in need while saving them money over the ongoing cost of kerosene.

The GravityLight project has captured plenty of public interest. The Indiegogo campaign has raised more than $115,000, blowing away the original $55,000 goal. Supporters can sponsor the delivery of GravityLights to villagers in need, as well as receive a light of their own. A $50 pledge supports research and comes with a light.

The GravityLight may well find a home as an emergency light or camping light in the developed world, but its impact on the lives of people in developing countries could be tremendous. It's healthier and cheaper than kerosene, less expensive than solar, and requires only a bag of rocks or sand to provide weight.