Let There Be Light

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Developing countries have a problem: roughly 20% of the world’s population lacks access to electricity, and kerosene lamps are both dangerous to the environment and hazardous to health.

GravityLight, whose motto is “Doing more with less,” has come up with a clever new way to bring light to poverty-stricken rural areas–without electricity. The lamp operates on gravity, by using the falling motion of a weight to one side to generate light. It began as a project on IndieGogo, and launched in 26 different countries. Now, after crowdfunding almost $400,000 (that’s 727% of its original goal funded), the company is releasing a redesign, which includes a sturdier, less breakable shell, a lighter weight, and a new pulley system.

Best of all, the lamp only costs $20, but will provide free lighting to families all over the world. This proves valuable in places that are generally without electricity, or “off the grid,” or too poor to pay for it. Not to mention that it conserves natural resources, which is always a plus.

What Sparks Our Fire: Creative design that helps move the world forward.

Tech Goes Green

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Sustainability has been a growing trend in business for years now as climate change becomes a more prevalent threat, however, now technology companies especially have realized that sustainability is a good investment.

Sustainability “ensures business continuity by conserving resources,” and now more than ever, economic and environmental sustainability are vital to businesses’ longevity and productivity.

In 2014, Unilever CEO Paul Polman declared that climate change-related natural disasters are costing Unilever at least $300 million a year. To combat this, several companies have come up with ways to conserve energy and other natural resources.

Creating environmental products is one such step. Samsung, for example, has taken the lead and released a solar-powered laptop, as well as three “green” mobile phones made of corn starch bioplastic and have energy-efficient chargers and recyclable packaging.

In order to ensure the future of the planet–and technology–it’s up to other companies to follow in Samsung’s small carbon footprints.

What Sparks Our Fire: Companies taking on a greater accountability for their sustainability and making moves to make sustainability a universal practice.

 

Home-Grown

living things“Living Things,” currently displayed in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Pittsburgh, imagines bioluminescent algae as home decor, creating an eco-friendly and sustainable living space.

The exhibit, which features a kitchen, living room, and a dining room, envisions a future in which the designers, Jacob Douenias and Ethan Frier, envision “photosynthetic furniture,” or pieces that contain glass vessels of algae. These vessels are wired to heat and light, which causes the algae to grow, making them a source of oxygen.

This living, breathing display is not the first that has used algae as a material; however, the designers say it could become more common in the future, because the liquid suspension of the organism makes it malleable and therefore easy to manipulate.

What Sparks Our Fire: Designers harnessing the power of nature to create homes that homes that boast both aesthetics and sustainability.

Use Solar Power Anywhere

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With a majority of Americans and people worldwide that consider solar power to be their number one choice of energy, SunPort is introducing a new way to use solar energy, with their new innovative and affordable outlet adapter. This portable outlet adapter allows users to power all of their gadgets on clean solar energy. Once plugging in a device into the SunPort, the application will automatically calculate how much power you’re using and quickly give you the option to upgrade to solar energy. Once upgrading, it will automatically purchase solar micro-credits that are provided through a non-profit organization called ReChoice. It’s a more affordable and less cumbersome option than those industrial-sized solar panels.

3048930-inline-i-0-this-plug-automatically-runs-your-gadgets-on-solar-powerDue to cost being an issue when purchasing solar panels, the inventor of SunPort, Paul Droege, believes they will eventually offer their customers a chance to upgrade their entire home at an affordable and reasonable cost. This will allow those with high interest to use clean solar energy and help create a demand for more solar production.

The use of solar energy has increased tremendously throughout the years and will continue to grow. Nivea Sun ads, which generated a great deal of praise and attention worldwide, used a similar approach.

What Sparks Our Fire: Making solar power more affordable, more portable, and more accessible to change the way we use energy.

 

The Urban Jungle

smart palm

Dubai is known for continually being on the forefront of modern technology. This summer, it has one more surprise for its residentsmassive, 20-foot-high “palm trees” made of metal that harness the power of solar energy to provide Wi-Fi and power.

“Smart Palm” boasts Wi-Fi hotspots, phone-charging stations, informational touchscreens, and even security cameras and an emergency button for safety. They’re completely self-sustained and green, thanks to giant solar panels that serve as the fronds.

While there are only two standing for now, the company plans on introducing another 103 across Dubai, and potentially switching to a 3-D printing manufacturing process. Viktor Nelepa, the company’s founder, wrote in a press release that his goal was “to provide data, connectivity, energy [all] in a sustainable manner,” while still maintaining the cultural significance of the date palm.

What Sparks Our Fire: Making technology greener and more accessible to the modern user.