The latest invention from Solight Design provides light via solar energy in a 55-gram foldable lantern. The SolarPuff, as the lantern is called, folds, like origami, into a flat sheet when not in use. The lamp has a photovoltaic solar panel attached to one side so that it has no need for batteries or direct electricity, making it ideal for campers and hikers. The excellent solar battery provided means that 8 hours of direct sunlight will provide 8 hours of light on the brightest setting. The lantern is the brightest on the market (90 lumens) and can be folded and unfolded in a matter of seconds.
Inventor and CEO of Solight Design, Alice Min Soo Chun, designed the lamp to be an aid for the people of Haiti during and after the 2010 earthquake. An early prototype featured a mouthpiece to blow the light into its expanded shape, however taking sanitation into account, she opted for the foldable origami design present now. Chun aims to alter the way the 1.6 billion people living in this world without access to electricity light their homes. Kerosene lamps – the most common lighting solution in the developing world – produce noxious fumes and are entirely unsustainable. Chun says, from research into the matter, that “2 million children die each year due to bad indoor air quality” and the SolarPuff could be the solution.
In current times, the navigation of Syrian Refugees to a place of safety is a major concern, especially at night. These solar lanterns have been handed out by NGO volunteers to help displaced peoples cross uncertain environments in dangerous times. In the refugee camps, the supposed “haven” from the civil war, there has been worrying amounts of crime, which Chun attributes to an absence of light. Over the past year, there has been a 20% decrease in sexual assault in refugee camps. Chun believes that much of this may be due to the having lights which discourages potential criminals.
SolarPuff has been designed for any situation, with a high and low light option for different settings and a blinking option that can act as a distress signal or scare a vicious animal away. It is made of a recyclable PET material that is nontoxic, unlike the PVC utilised in many other solar lamp designs. Chun has ensured that the lamp will withstand most scenarios a refugee will find themselves in – it’s sturdy, waterproof, and able to withstand the elements.
First brought to market in 2015, when Chun received $500,000 in just 30 days from over 6,800 backers in a Kickstarter, Solight Design has said their ultimate goal is “to provide clean, sustainable lighting to those in need”.