Aid ProjectsEnergy Systems

Gravity Powered Lights

Lighting in much of the ‘developing’ world is provided via expensive and polluting kerosene. Kerosene lamps are dangerous, require constant replenishment, and come with significant negative health impacts.

So, for the potential benefit of millions of people, London based designers, Martin Riddiford and Jim Reeves, have spent four years working on an inexpensive, safe and health-neutral alternative — a gravity powered LED light! It’s clever, and well intentioned. Nice!

Martin and Jim initially looked at creating a light that would be powered by solar, as would most of us. But the idea of utilising gravity took hold of them — where the end user can do away with the need for expensive solar panels and batteries, which use a lot of resources in their manufacture — and the gravity light was born. The gravity light will work whether it’s day or night, sunny or cloudy.

At time of writing, Martin and Jim’s Indiegogo campaign to raise funds has already surpassed its basic goal of $55,000, but if you wish to donate it’ll help them further their goal of refining the design to make it even more useful, efficient and inexpensive.


  1. This is fantastic. I am living on a severely limited income and I will happily contribute to your project. When I was a around 12 or 13, I tried to convince my father (an electrical engineer) that we should be able to make a light that could function by using the same sort of power that our grandfather clock used. I wish I’d known about LEDs because my plan didn’t work too well with a regular lightbulb. My father smiled when I tried and told me that cheap electricity made the whole concept not worth the bother.
    These guys are doing great work and should be supported in what they are trying to do. A small, free light in an African hut will cast a very wide beam.

  2. When a Real Estate ad fails to mention the location of a house, we assume there’s a good reason. We should apply the same skepticism to a lantern that fails to mention how much power – in Lumens or Watts. Its not just the articles – and there are others all over the net (someone generated good PR) but also on the Indigogo and their own site it neglects to mention the power. (The indigogo says it won’t charge a cellphone and refers to Deciwatt which says nothing about it).

    An engineer friend who has done the math says it would take a weight over 100kg being lifted every 30 minutes to achieve the light output of a typical solar lantern. That’s the weight of a heavy human, so its unlikely which means this light is going to be low illumination, but still expensive (note its $5 estimated manufacturer cost, which translates to $20 in the field, not the $10 mentioned on the video – most solar lanterns cost about $7-8 to make and sell at about $30)

    I’d love to be proved wrong but in the absence of meaningful info from either the company or the “journalists” who covered the story it has to be assumed a non-starter.

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