Monday, 21 January 2013

Igniting Innovations

 Light, on earth, is synonymous with Life. Light is the source of all activities and the epicentre of the force of life. Hence we humans have tried to innovate ways of getting light even after the sun goes down. 
 Thomas Alva Edison 

Since the invention of the light bulb by Thomas Alva Edison 1880, we have tried to re-invent and modernize it to fit necessity and demand. Today electric lights have become an essential part of life.
  The three-dimensional and spiral CFL, called helical, was invented by Edward Hammer in 1976, in response to the 1973 oil crisis. The lamps were sold only in 1995 when China started producing them commercially.

Nick Holonyak, Jr

However, the LEDs are being deemed as the next big thing. Nick Holonyak, Jr., also known as the ‘father of the light-emitting diode’, invented the first practically useful visible LED in 1962 while working as a consulting scientist New York. 

    In May 2008, the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize competition. On September 24, 2009, Philips Lighting North America submitted their product, and, on August 3, 2011, Philips was awarded in the category to replace the 60W A-19 Edison screw-fixture light bulb. The 10W, 900-lumen Philips bulb has been made available to consumers since April 2012.
   Attempting to make something eco-friendly and cost-effective, in 2008, two Harvard graduates, Jessica O. Matthews and Julia Silverman, created something which they named the ‘SOCCKET’, a soccer ball that doubles as a generator. After finishing a game, a single-bulb LED lamp can be plugged into the ball to provide hours of light.

Solar Water Bulb
  To combat major power outages which were taking place in Brazil in 2002, Alfredo Moser, a mechanic from Sao Paulo, created the ‘Solar Water Bulb’. Simply fill a one litre plastic bottle with water and bleach, cap it and seal it; a water bulb is ready. The water inside the bottle disperses and refracts sunlight and is equivalent to a 50W bulb.
  In 2006, a bunch of first-semester students at Cooper Union in New York, created a lamp from local products (like hair relaxer tub, an orange drink container and three bicycle spokes) at less than $10. The lamp could go on for two days without recharging. The project gradually took the form of a campaigning organisation called ‘SociaLite’. Today, SociaLite has evolved into a solar-powered lighting project designed to meet the specific needs of the extreme poor.

    Nonetheless, even today, more than a billion people around the world have no access to electricity. Faced by challenges like high cost and sustainability, providing for lighting for all is a major task. The answer may however lie in local solutions and initiatives like ‘Lighting A Billion Lives’ by The Energy And Resources Institute.

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