A solar-charged light might seem like just another green gadget to the average American, but for families in rural Africa, it could prove revolutionary.
Product design consultancy Plus Minus Design is vying to replace unsustainable and potentially dangerous lanterns in the homes of off-grid Africans with the Solar Pebble. Engineered with the economic constraints of developing-world citizens in mind, the Solar Pebble will provide one hour of LED light for every two hours of charge, and will cost only $2.70 to manufacture.
Plus Minus Design, based in Leeds, U.K., was founded by three undergraduate students at the University of Leeds. While studying product design and engineering, Adam Robinson, Henry James, and Tom Eales were given the opportunity to work with SolarAid, a charity in the U.K.
SolarAid, which works to fight poverty and climate change, worked with the students to develop a solar-powered alternative to kerosene lanterns. Those lanterns, commonly used in rural Africa, draw 20 percent of an average Malawian family's income, SolarAid said, and pose respiratory health problems, as well as create fire hazards. … Read more