This has so many beneficial applications - especially now with all of these terrible weather related catastrophes around the world.
The MightyLight -- "a waterproof, portable lamp that runs on solar powered batteries" is changing the lives of poor people in India who might otherwise be in the dark. Designed by Matt Scott as a class project in his senior year at Stanford University, the MightyLight is a safer, more environmentally-friendly alternative to kerosene lamps. Using light-emitting diodes -- LEDs -- as its mode of illumination, some 10,000 MightyLights have so far been distributed by Matt's company, Cosmos Ignite.
The benefits of artificial light to "remote areas of developing countries, where some 1.6 billion people -- about a quarter of the world's population -- still live without electricity," are, of course, huge. For example, in the Philippines, where terrorist activities have thwarted efforts to expand the power grid, a group called Amore is training locals to how to create their own solar, wind or hydro power. The results: "Fishermen now have a few more hours of light in which to mend their nets. Markets stay open longer. Children have more light to do their homework."
Most important, "when villages see their life improving they're less likely to give refuge" to terrorists, who also have fewer opportunities to work under the cover of darkness. Meanwhile, the technologies that enable innovations such as the MightyLight keep getting better. As Matt Scott observes: "Most other lighting technologies are static, but LEDs will continue to improve ... We can now offer more light for the same wattage," he says. However, even with such improvements, a MightyLight costs $40, "more cash than most Indians have on hand," although about the same as several months' worth of kerosene (a MightyLight lasts for years). So, microlenders are stepping in to help bridge that gap.
Related reading: The Solar Economy: Renewable Energy for a Sustainable Global Future.