The fact remains that a considerable part of the globe remains engulfed in darkness due to limited access to electricity. However, engineers at New York based Solight Design have come up with a solution through SolarPuff, a solar powered LED lantern with a foldable pop-up box.
According to the 2014 World Energy Outlook of the International Energy Agency, 1.3 billion people around the world have no access to electricity.
To those who live in areas with no consistent source of energy, they resort to archaic kerosene lamps to navigate through the night—either inside their homes or along their neighborhood. Nonetheless, Solight Design is hoping to change this with its flagship product, the SolarPuff.
The SolarPuff is a flat pack, foldable, solar powered LED light with design cues resembling a typical lantern. It is lightweight and portable, weighing just about 2.06 oz., deflates to 0.25 inch thin, and inflates by itself through its origami-inspired design. Furthermore, it contains a solar panel, a lithium ion battery, LED bulbs, and a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) material.
Because the product is made of PET, a non-toxic recyclable material, it is environmentally friendly than other solar-powered lanterns made of PVC, a synthetic plastic polymer.
Alice Min Soo Chun and Stacy Kelly, respectively chief product officer and chief operating officer at Solight Design, are the brains behind the simple but promising product. According to them, the inspiration behind SolarPuff came from the earthquake that rocked Haiti in 2010 and left 220,000 people dead. Its aftermath had called for the necessity to have light during a state of emergency.
SolarPuff provides a simple off-grid lighting solution. According to the company, the product will fully charge in 5 hours under direct sunlight. A full charge can provide up to 8 hours of light in high setting and more on a low setting. Note that SolarPuff also has 300 to 500 cycles of full charge. The product will last approximately 2 years with day-to-day use, specifically a daily full charge and discharge cycles.
Apart from controlling lighting preference either through a high or low setting, the product also has a blinking setting for sending distress signal.
Solight Design founders Soo Chun and Kelly are looking for several possibilities through SolarPuff. For instance, their product can promote and facilitate study and reading even after dark. It can also enable rural community gatherings and provide safety after disaster. Because it taps renewable energy and has zero carbon footprint, the product also forms part of several initiatives aimed at promoting clean and sustainable energy.