Once in a while a product comes along which has been invented for the purposes of doing some good, rather than financial gain for the inventors. And that’s pretty much the case for LuminAID, which was developed by two Architecture & Design students after they experienced an earthquake in Japan. They came up with a super-simple, stowable, cheap solution to providing emergency lighting in disaster-hit areas… and that just so happens to be a pretty cool little camping product too.
Packed down it is almost exactly the same size as an iPhone 5, and what you get is a solar panel, an in-built battery and an LED light with 2 settings. The party piece is that the whole shebang is housed inside a welded PVC inflatable pillow which, when you click on the LuminAID, glows with a diffuse white light that is enough to light up an area for cooking, reading or just otherwise living when you’re completely off-grid.
We’ve been living without any electric lights for the last 6 months, so we’ve had ample chance to try out different lamps and torches here at GWA. The LuminAID has proven itself to be a really useful night-light, with a constant glow that last up to 16 hours from a good, strong day’s sunlight.
In reality, with our crappy Autumnal sunshine in the UK, we’ve been getting a night’s glow from it and then leaving it on a windowsill to recharge during the day. Yesterday was really dark and miserable and was the first time we didn’t get a whole night’s light from it.
The LuminAID philosophy is great. Their website allows you to buy a light for yourself (US, Canada, Australia NZ and Korea only at this time – UK customers can get them via Eskimo Agency) but also to buy/subsidise one for someone who really needs it in a disaster area.
For outdoorsy people the LuminAID can be strapped to the outside of your pack during a hike to give you an evening’s light. It’s waterproof, and so thin and light that you’d have to be very unlucky or clumsy to break it.
It’s one of those neat ideas that work, and it’s got a great story to tell too.
More: Eskimo Agency