Lighting the future

A really clever and innovative idea – the gravity light.

Saw this item on the Australian Permaculture Research website on the 18th.

Lighting in much of the ‘developing’ world is provided via expensive and polluting kerosene. Kerosene lamps are dangerous, require constant replenishment, and come with significant negative health impacts.

So, for the potential benefit of millions of people, London based designers, Martin Riddiford and Jim Reeves, have spent four years working on an inexpensive, safe and health-neutral alternative — a gravity powered LED light! It’s clever, and well intentioned. Nice!

Martin and Jim initially looked at creating a light that would be powered by solar, as would most of us. But the idea of utilising gravity took hold of them — where the end user can do away with the need for expensive solar panels and batteries, which use a lot of resources in their manufacture — and the gravity light was born. The gravity light will work whether it’s day or night, sunny or cloudy.

At time of writing, Martin and Jim’s Indiegogo campaign to raise funds has already surpassed its basic goal of $55,000, but if you wish to donate it’ll help them further their goal of refining the design to make it even more useful, efficient and inexpensive.

Then it was only a moment to track down the project on a website called Indiegogo, from which one reads,


GravityLight is a revolutionary new approach to storing energy and creating illumination. It takes only 3 seconds to lift the weight which powers GravityLight, creating 30 minutes of light on its descent. For free.

Following the initial inspiration of using gravity, and years of perspiration, we have refined the design and it is now ready for production. We need your help to fund the tooling, manufacture and distribution of at least 1000 gravity powered lights. We will gift them to villagers in both Africa and India to use regularly. The follow-up research will tell us how well the lights met their needs, and enable us to refine the design for a more efficient MK2 version. Once we have proved the design, we will be looking to link with NGOs and partners to distribute it as widely as possible. When mass produced the target cost for this light is less than $5.

Why GravityLight?

Did you know that there are currently over 1.5 billion people in the World who have no reliable access to mains electricity? These people rely, instead, on biomass fuels (mostly kerosene) for lighting once the sun goes down.

Go here and read the information in full and admire the photographs.  But I will include this from the end of the item.


We are Martin Riddiford and Jim Reeves, London based designers who have spent 4 years developing GravityLight as an off-line project. We work for, which has over 20 years of experience in designing and developing hand held computing and communication products for a host of pioneers including Psion, Toshiba, NEC, TomTom, Inmarsat, ICO, Sepura, Racal Acoustics, Voller Energy, FreePlay and SolarAid.

We’re using a tried and tested manufacturer who has the right expertise to make GravityLight. We have some links to partner organisations in Africa and need to do the same for India. If you’re part of an organisation and would like to get involved then please contact us. We are particularly looking for contacts in South America.

Visit our skunk-works website here

Our movie soundtrack kindly created by Belinda from the bush the tree and me.

Check out John Keane’s great Solar For Africa blog.

I am sure all who read this will wish Martin and Jim the very best of luck.


8 thoughts on “Lighting the future

  1. This is a truly awesome invention! Given that I cannot install Solar PV on my roof because I am unemployed – and cannot share the output with my neighbour downstairs (who is employed) – I am inclined to say I would like to buy some gravity lights myself… Are they working on a gravity cooker and heater as well?


  2. With chronic economic problems troubling the developed countries, I think this new invention will be good for overall mankind. According to my knowledge, LED lighting is energy-saving but it’s very expensive, which is the reason till now, it has yet been widely used. If this innovation can significantly bring down the cost of LED lighting , then it will be excellent. I’m all for green stuff!


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