back to article Grab your lamp, you've pulled: Brits punt life-saving gravity-powered light

The second generation of a deciwatt gravity-powered lamp designed by the British industrial designers behind the Psion computer keyboard was launched today. Few innovations we cover can claim to save lives, but this just might be one of them. The $5 Gravity Light, designed by London's Therefore Inc, offers the world's poorest …

  1. K Silver badge

    If I didn't already have electricity in my shed, I 100% would buy this... Big thumbs up to them :)

    1. 2Nick3

      And I'd be willing to pay 3x for one to send the other two somewhere that they would be needed.

    2. Nial

      "If I didn't already have electricity in my shed, I 100% would buy this... Big thumbs up to them :)"

      My reaction too, so I tried to buy one.

      _£70_ on Amazon!

      >:-0

      1. MrXavia

        "_£70_ on Amazon!"

        it does seem very expensive for what it is, and for the people who need it..

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Obligatory facetious comment

    one minute of pulling generates one hour of light at 25lm

    They should develop a miniature reciprocating generator that fits a gentleman's wrist. A leisurely "workout" of five minutes would be good exercise, and provide five hours illumination (or two hours after netting off a USB powered screen displaying "encouragement").

    Waste no want not. And I'm sure the "spendings" can be recycled in some form.

    1. handleoclast
      Coat

      Re: Obligatory facetious comment

      We could do better than that. It could power a fondleslab so you can browse pornhub at the same time.

    2. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: Obligatory facetious comment

      "They should develop a miniature reciprocating generator that fits a gentleman's wrist. "

      Isn't that already called a Flesh Light?

  3. James 51 Silver badge

    I would absolutely love to have one of these tucked away for when some squirrel brings a tree down on a power line.

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Joke

      You have squirrels so big they can bring down a tree??? Where the hell do you live???

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Must be from Australia, everything can kill you in Australia.

        1. onefang Silver badge

          "Must be from Australia, everything can kill you in Australia."

          Not everything, the Australian scorpions can't kill you. Seems their poison is too piss weak. Everything else, yep.

          1. DougS Silver badge

            Great, so things that people are naturally afraid of won't kill you, and things people aren't naturally afraid of will. Everything really is upside down down under!

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Coat

            "Not everything, the Australian scorpions can't kill you. Seems their poison is too piss weak."

            Is that the Fosters Scorpion?

      2. Ochib

        It's not the squirrels, it's the drop bears

  4. Kaltern

    Inventors Involved In Indiegogo Investment Initiative Interested In Impoverished Illuminiation Improvements.

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Inspired! I'm incredibly impressed.

      1. Kaltern

        Indeed! Interestingly, I Imbibed Intoxicating Ingredients...

    2. hplasm Silver badge
      Happy

      @ kaltern

      Aye aye, aye (etc )i!!

  5. Aladdin Sane Silver badge
    Pint

    As always

    This---------------------------------------->

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who is the hater downvoting all the comments? Weird to see 1 downvote of every post. Disgruntled competitor maybe?

    1. Kaltern

      I know.. I'm deeply hurt and upset.. I might have to ... actually I really don't care... someone always downvotes my comments. Perhaps my charm, wit and astounding linguistic skills are just inciting immense amounts of jealousy, causing an irrational need to downvote me, and others like me, to give this person the feeling of power and importance, all the while withering away in their basement room, with only a single light bulb and a bear called Terry for company.

      Or they're bored. Whichever works...

    2. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Some people just want to see the world burn. Which an electric light would help to prevent.

    3. David 18

      "Who is the hater downvoting all the comments? Weird to see 1 downvote of every post. Disgruntled competitor maybe?"

      An idiotic, ignorant, imbecile with an aversion to alliterative annotations?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Never underestimate the kerosene industry. They have spies everywhere.

    5. JimmyPage Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      RE: Who is the hater downvoting all the comments?

      Now you know how AI trollbots work.

      It's a serious point. Do you really think all those upvotes for contentious views on various online fora were real ?

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: RE: Who is the hater downvoting all the comments?

        "Now you know how AI trollbots work."

        No, now whe know how AI AI AI AI AI AI AI AI AI AI AI trollbots work... I think...

    6. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      It's a confused bot - usually it only downvotes anti-Brexit and pro-Climate Change posts.

  7. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    So a bit like those old cuckoo clocks only useful instead of annoying. Nice.

  8. Chris G Silver badge

    Gravity?

    I don't see where this is gravity powered, from reading the article it requires a human to provide power by pulling the belt that runs through the device.

    From the article's title I had pictured something like the old Cuckoo Clock weights operating a dynamo.

    The lamp is certainly worth having for emergencies but it doesn't seem to be gravity powered.

    Using a weight system with a dynamo might make an interesting project for my shed however.

    Edit: Just found this from 2015: The Diddly Wail http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3100777/The-light-powered-GRAVITY-Lamp-uses-energy-falling-weight-illuminate-homes-without-electricity.html

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: Gravity?

      I think I agree - I assumed it was like an old 7-day pendulum clock. Human strength is used to raise the weight, and then gravity pulls it down, providing the power for the clock. Seems I was wrong! But wouldn't that work as well?

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: Gravity?

        In the Wail link I found it is using a 26lb weight, so not for the old and frail, I suppose a similar way to use gravity would be to re-invent the waterclock/wheel fill a tank with water and let the outlet power a tiny dynamo to light a LED, then you just need a hose or plumb it in, unless you are in a 3rd world place with no plumbing or plentiful water.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Gravity?

          "[...] unless you are in a 3rd world place with no plumbing or plentiful water."

          They fetch water in a large container from a communal supply only a few times a day. If they then stored it temporarily in a high cistern - they could have electricity generated as they gradually drained the tank.

    2. Mage Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Gravity?

      Yes, Gravity Powered is *like* perpetual motion. It's human powered. No doubt a weight is cheaper than a spring. Or just having a rechargeable cell.

      There is a pendulum that looks like it's gravity powered, or a perpetual motion machine. It's driven by the Earth's rotation. I presume a LOT of BIG ones would slow down the rotation.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foucault_pendulum

      Thermodynamics. No free lunch.

      There is no reason why an old weight or spring driven mechanism can't be used to drive an LED. Though please don't dismember record player or mecanno motors to make one. Or other than mass produced clocks/music boxes.

      I think some music boxes (see eBay for new cheap mechanisms) could provide enough LED to read for a few minutes?

      Or what about arm and leg "irons" that crank a spring with a clutch that drives motor to charge your phone?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Gravity?

        There is a pendulum that looks like it's gravity powered, or a perpetual motion machine. It's driven by the Earth's rotation. I presume a LOT of BIG ones would slow down the rotation.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foucault_pendulum

        Foucault's Pendulum is not powered by Earth's rotation. As the wikipedia page says:

        Air resistance damps the oscillation, so some Foucault pendulums in museums incorporate an electromagnetic or other drive to keep the bob swinging; others are restarted regularly, sometimes with a launching ceremony as an added attraction.

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Re: Gravity?

          Put it in a vacuum.

          Actually an inertial guidance system platform "appears" to rotate if you are parked. It's actually the Earth is rotating and the platform remains pointing where ever it was pointing at the start. Modern ones don't use three flywheels but mem elements like in a mobile phone.

          The electromagnetic drive does NOT power the movement, only cancels the air resistance.

          Inertial guidance is much simpler on a spacecraft that's not in orbit than on a ship, aircraft or cruise missile which has to compensate for the Earth's rotation.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Gravity?

            But the point was about "perpetual motion". A rotating disk will continue to rotate indefinitely in the absence of friction too.

            The thing about FP is that you launch it in a straight line, but it precesses due to the earth's rotation. Most obviously, if you swing a pendulum at the north pole, the earth will turn underneath it.

            That's still not any form of "perpetual motion"; it's just that a pendulum would be expected to swing back and forth in a straight line, but apparently does not. That's because you're not in an intertial frame of reference.

  9. fche

    "gravity-powered" isn't

    It's a wind-up toy.

  10. Emmeran

    Oh look

    Someone reinvented the cuckoo clock. And for our next trick - the waterwheel!

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: Oh look

      And for our next trick - the waterwheel!

      If you can make one that works in a desert, I'm sure the world will beat a path to your door.

      1. DJO Silver badge

        Re: Oh look

        If you can make one that works in a desert

        Dry sand will flow almost as well as water, it shouldn't be too tricky to have an arrangement where you fill a hopper with sand and it flows out (like an hour glass) and turns a wheel to generate a trickle of power.

        1. I3N
          Pint

          Dry sand flows better than water ...

          One that would LAST in the desert ... blasted dust gets into everything ... gums up bearings and coats the insides of equipment everywhere ...such is boffin life in a mud building armed with air hose and vacuum cleaner ...

          Expect the obligatory downvotes ...

          1. Ochib

            Re: Dry sand flows better than water ...

            I don't like sand. It's coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere

            1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

              Re: Dry sand flows better than water ...

              I don't like sand. It's coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere

              One of the more interesting statistics I remember from the first Gulf War was that the biggest single cause of soldiers being medevac'ed out was emergency circumcision due to problems caused by sand.

              I'm not sure whether there's a suitable icon for this.

      2. David 18

        Re: Oh look

        "And for our next trick - the waterwheel!

        If you can make one that works in a desert, I'm sure the world will beat a path to your door."

        If you combine it with something to catch small rodents and use them to drive the wheel they certainly will!

  11. msknight Silver badge

    OK....

    ...I'm up for this and have duly handed over my plastic. Let's see what comes.

  12. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Go

    Quite neat. And tricky to engineer well.

    May turn out to be one of those little products that makes just a bit of a difference to a great many people.

    I wish them every success, but I agree, a good quality affordable rechargeable battery is a tough problem.

  13. Rol Silver badge

    Where there's muck there's.....

    Electricity!

    A friend of mine, some time ago did a bit of work on self fuelling robots. Basically. they would seek out a food source to ingest, which would then be turned into electricity via their artificial stomach.

    I was very much hoping that that technology would have advanced to the stage I could take my toilet off-line and reduce my sewage charge to zero, while converting my effluent into electricity and probably some kind of briquette, that I could either burn or sell to kids as cinder toffee.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Where there's muck there's.....

      "[...] and reduce my sewage charge to zero, while converting my effluent into electricity [...]"

      Bill Gates is financing research. Here is a video of a microwave/plasma destructor that would be self-powered.

    2. MrXavia

      Re: Where there's muck there's.....

      I remember watching a program on while in China about something like this, it used the animal waste to create enough gas to burn to cook on every day. I can't remember the details, but it was impressive that they could generate that much methane gas daily just from a single households waste!

  14. Blockchain commentard Silver badge

    $5 light for a discounted early adopter price of only $75 via Indigogo. Bargain.

  15. Keith Oborn

    Are they trying to wind up Trevor Bayliss?

    Too late--.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I like the bird in the video

  17. SteveastroUk

    Re: When there's no more magic left it's time to stop.

    RIP Trevor Bayliss. This was your idea.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When there's no more magic left it's time to stop.

      Precisely. The wind up radio is good for an hour on a couple minutes of winding. This light is just the same idea used for lighting, so nothing new here.

      I'm a Yank and I've actually used Trevor's radio, yet a whole bunch of Brits seem not to know about him, a fellow Brit. Odd.

    2. Chozo

      Re: This was your idea.

      <cough>

      Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959 film) the explorers are shown using clockwork powered flashlights

  18. joshimitsu

    Retail should be around £20-£30?

    For that price, are the early adopters subsidising free/discounted units for needy causes? (on top of the buy one/donate some scheme). Or it that going to the R&D element?

    What's the advantage over the crank style ones anyway? I thought the "pull the chain" style mechanisms are suited to opening heavy doors/shutters etc, is this due to the dynamo having higher resistance?

    I think the belt would wear out after a few years, like the drive belt in a scooter so there's still a maintenance element.

  19. JohnLH

    So that's 12 Kg x 2 metres x 10 (approx value for g) = 240 joules = 4 watt minutes. Not a lot of power for very long when you've just lifted 12 bags of sugar. No wonder they need a solar panel and battery to make this sensible. This is just the kind of patronising "innovation" we don't need.

  20. Jtom

    I like the simplicity of the idea, but can't help thinking they are going off-track with solar and batteries. The users don't need added complexity, and they don't have money. What they have is manpower.

    Depending on the natural resources available (sand, water, dirt, rocks, wood) and terrain (flat vs hills), I suspect this concept could be ramped up to a much larger scale using manpower. Consider a desert-like condition. Sand could be used as the weight. Instead of manually pulling a large weight to 'wind' the magneto, they could have something as simple as a fire brigade to transport the sand bucket-by-bucket up to a large container. The container, itself, could descend, creating the power (and raised back up after being emptied), or could empty into a verticle conveyor belt of smaller buckets, providing continuous downward drop. Simple machines (fulcrum-lever, Archimedes screw, slopes, wheelbarrows) could be used as appropriate. Anything could be used for the weight, and coordinated manpower could be used to increase the scale. A small output could be generated for extremely long periods, or large outputs for shorter time-frames.

    To me, eliminating manpower by adding expenses and technology (batteries, solar panels, etc.) is exactly the wrong trade-off.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So I'm in but when you can get an 'Outdoor 20W Multifunction Portable Manual Crank Generator Emergency Survival Power Supply' for 30USD and presumably pair it with a Lithium iron phosphate battery of your choosing it doesn't seem like great value for money. I'm not an expert in battery technology but presumably the battery is the star of the show in that it's not particularly picky on voltage input and will charge at anything from 3-20v?

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