deciwatt.org is a research initiative focussed on low power devices.
GravityLight is a product of this initiative.
We envisage other projects which bring together low-power electronics with off-grid energy generation to connect the unconnected. Access to the world's knowledge via the internet, peer to peer communication and education are possible for these people using today's electronics, if built from the ground up.
deciwatt.org is our initiative to try to make this happen through our existing network of clients, and connections to groups who share our hopes for GravityLight.
therefore has over 20 years of experience in designing and developing handheld computing and communication products for a host of pioneers including Psion, Toshiba, NEC, TomTom, Inmarsat, ICO, Sepura, Racal Acoustics, Voller energy etc. We work at the heart of an industry which is driven by Moore's law. However there is another less known parallel trend, called Koomey's law.
Koomey's law describes a long-term trend in the history of computing hardware. The number of computations per joule of energy dissipated has been doubling approximately every 1.57 years. This trend has been remarkably stable since the 1950s (R2 of over 98%) and has actually been somewhat faster than Moore’s law. Jonathan Koomey articulated the trend as follows: “at a fixed computing load, the amount of battery you need will fall by a factor of two every year and a half.”
Many would say that this trend just keeps pace with the increasing sophistication of computing. However it also has a flip side. It means that relatively simple devices progressively need less energy to run. Similar efficiencies have been seen in radio communication too, opening up the possibility of low cost, off-grid computing and communication equipment.
Our vision has evolved from two self-funded projects exploring low power opportunities and solutions for the developing world. The first was the Talking Stick project, presented to Cambridge Wireless as a concept to bring communication to the unconnected. The second is GravityLight, an off-line project which is now at a working prototype stage, seeking funding via Indiegogo.
Dear GravityLight contributors and supporters,
Just as the sun has finally come back to London, Martin and Jim have emerged from months in the workshop where they have been further refining and testing GravityLight. They have now finalized the design that will be used for our global trial and, of course, be sent to those of you who requested one in your pledges.
Specifically, GravityLight is now even more robust – ensuring that any overload or rougher handling of the weight will be clearly indicated, through some simple feedback, to the user. We have also been through a process of virtual modeling, in parallel to the extensive physical testing, which has led us to refine the gear geometry and redefine the specific formulation of plastics, so we now have a low cost solution that we are confident meets our targets for strength. Given it will be put through it’s paces in a variety of different environments, this will help ensure it lasts as long as possible!
Several ways to improve the quality of the light have been explored. We now have the ability to provide a wider range of power and duration adjustment, and we have further increased efficiency. We felt that the range should be extended so that we can understand from the trial what is essential, what is most useful, and if other applications for the power can be found, beyond light, radio and trickle charging of batteries.
The insight from Martin’s personal holiday to Sri Lanka that households used several kerosene lights around their rooms – and those with electricity used strings of lights fed into our exploration of what useful peripheral devices could be attached to GravityLight. We plan to get feedback during our trials on which are the most useful.
We now have the exciting – and long – route to producing our first batch! This entails completing the tooling, testing samples, ironing out any issues with the production process, getting final samples and then - when we’re happy the quality is right – it's full speed production. Providing no glitches, this takes us to the end of the summer when we’ll start shipping the units around the world.
So thank you for your continued support of GravityLight and your patience. As we mentioned, your overwhelming support enabled us to make an even better and more efficient model.
From the emails that continue to flood in, it’s incredibly exciting to see how many people think GravityLight would be a great solution in their countries and communities. We’ve also been honored to receive recognition as a "World top 10 most innovative companies in energy" by FastCompany, to win the 2013 Invention Award from Popular Science and to be nominated for the Index: Design to Improve Life® Award.
You can find all previous update at www.deciwatt.org/updates.
All the best,
19 April 2013
There are currently over 1.5 billion people in the World who have no reliable access to mains electricity. These people rely, instead, on biomass fuels (mostly kerosene) for lighting once the sun goes down. We propose a sustainable lighting solution powered by gravity.
GravityLight, an off-line project which is now at a working prototype stage.
Thanks to help of our supporters we have now successfully secured funding for the trial phase of the GravityLight Mk1.
We will gift them to villagers in both Africa and India to use regularly. The follow-up research will tell us how well the lights met their needs, and enable us to refine the design for a more efficient MK2 version. Once we have proved the design, we will be looking to link with NGOs and partners to distribute it as widely as possible. When mass produced the target cost for this light is less than $5.
Read more about the original brief which inspired thousands of people around the world to support GravityLight.