While we conveniently go on about our daily tasks that make use of electricity and hardly ever stop to realize that we are taking this for granted, a large number of people residing in Kenya don’t have access to electricity at all. They are completely off the grid. Although the alternative energy sources to provide them with electricity are being employed, but the price is too high and you won’t see the majority buying units for their homes anytime soon.
This is where Sudha Kheterpal comes in with the invention of Spark that is generating funds on Kickstarter as of now and can be best described as a kinetic device that allows you to charge a battery and use this power!
The working principle behind the Spark is simple and ingenious; grab the gadget that is shaped like a rock and shake it (I like to shake it shake it – Madagascar) like you would shake a maraca, this movement is used to charge a rechargeable battery contained within it that can hold charge up to 20 hours of charge. 12 minutes of shaking will provide you with enough energy to power up a light for one hour. The inventor for the past few decades has been performing as a professional percussionist and has toured with the Spice Girls, Dido and Faithless. In her words; ‘I’ve always wondered if all that energy that I give out on stage as a performer could be harnessed and used.’
The idea had been brewing for quite some time and she finally decided to bring an engineer (what would we do without these folks) and a designer (equally important) on board with her and this trio created a flint stone look alike device that contains a small energy producing unit. Shaking the gadget results in the movement of a magnet between coils made of copper-wire that generates a current in the wire, subsequently charging the battery.
Although 12 minutes of shaking and an hour of light isn’t what you would call efficient and the team is fully aware of this as they work to cut down shake-power ratio to half. As per Sudha, the aim of this invention is to employ it as an educational tool and plans to distribute the gadget to 75% of Kenyan children studying in school. She says; ‘If every school child has a shaker or kit they can put together. The impact of that is huge.’ We wish her luck for her endeavours!