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A Maraca That Could Power Lamps for People Without Light

Discussion in 'Science & Technology' started by micropage7, Jul 3, 2014.

  1. micropage7

    micropage7

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    The majority of Kenyans live off grid, meaning
    they don’t have electricity to light their homes,
    charge their cell phones or do any other number
    of tasks many of us take for granted on a daily
    basis. Solar power is a burgeoning source of
    energy for the country, but buying an individual
    solar power system can be pricey.
    Sudha Kheterpal created the Spark (now raising
    money on Kickstarter), a kinetic energy device, to
    help give a cheap boost of electricity to those
    who live without it. The idea is simple: Shake the
    rock-shaped gadget like a maraca, and a
    rechargeable battery will produce enough energy
    to power a light—12 minutes of shaking gets you
    one hour of light.
    The concept had been brewing in Kheterpal’s
    mind for years. For the past couple of decades
    Kheterpal has been a professional percussionist
    touring with the Spice Girls, Dido and Faithless.
    Each night she exerted intense amounts of energy
    that seemed to just float away with the crowds
    after the show. “I’ve always wondered if all that
    energy that I give out on stage as a performer
    could be harnessed and used,” she says.

    So Kheterpal began researching how she might be
    able to take the concept of percussion and turn it
    into a sustainable source of energy. She tapped
    an engineer and designer to help develop the
    technology and form of the product and came up
    with a flint stone-shaped device that houses a
    small energy-producing circuit. As a magnet
    moves back and forth through the center of a
    copper wire coil, a current is produced in the wire
    loops and gives the rechargeable battery a boost.
    Someone can shake the Spark in the morning and
    use the power in the evening. Each battery can
    hold up to 20 hours at a time.
    “I’VE ALWAYS WONDERED IF ALL THAT ENERGY
    THAT I GIVE OUT ON STAGE AS A PERFORMER
    COULD BE HARNESSED AND USED,” SHE SAYS.
    Getting an hour of light from 12 minutes of
    shaking isn’t exactly efficient, but it’s just a start
    says Kheterpal (the team is working to cut the
    shake-to-energy ratio in half). The Spark is
    certainly not a cure all, and Kheterpal doesn’t
    expect an entire family to sustain on it. The
    bigger goal she says, is to turn the Spark into an
    educational tool and to distribute it to 75 percent
    of Kenyan school children.
    Part of the Kickstarter money will go towards
    making educational kits that will teach students
    how to build the Spark from its various
    components. Kinetic energy is generally taught at
    age 11 in Kenya; the Spark will give these kids a
    direct application to scientific concepts, and a few
    hours of charing a phone or light, too. “If every
    school child has a shaker or kit they can put
    together,” says Kheterpal. “The impact of that is
    huge.”




    http://www.wired.com/2014/07/a-maraca-that-could-power-lamps-for-people-without-light/
     
  2. lilhasselhoffer

    lilhasselhoffer

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    This technology has been commercially available for years. They have it imbedded in emergency flash lights, that have been selling on infomercials for the last decade. How is any of this news?


    Also, how is any of this affordable? You have to purchase a bunch of wire (copper isn't cheap), you've got to make some strong magnets, and the magnets themselves have to be able to withstand traumatic impacts inside the "maracas." Some moronic percussionist who just now understands that kinetic energy can be converted into electrical potential doesn't need a Kickstarter, they need to go back to 5th grade.


    Wake me when the gravity powered lighting (same concept, but infinitely more durable and with less conversion losses) gets another round on Kickstarter. It isn't a good project either (in the sense that its results will not greatly impact my life), but at least it can server some altruistic purpose.


    Edit:
    To prove my point:
    "The linear induction or Faraday flashlight or "shake flashlight" is another design of a mechanically powered flashlight. It has been sold in the US beginning with direct marketing campaigns in 2002." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mechanically_powered_flashlight
     
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  3. TheMailMan78

    TheMailMan78 Big Member

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    Or they could have just bought this and added a battery along with the capacitor.

    http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/30190857/

    OR this...

    http://www.foreverflashlights.com/forever_flashlights_3.htm

    I mean really this "idea" is nothing new. Hell they have had shakable flash lights for years. Anyone who funds this new "tech" is an idiot. However bleeding hearts will open their wallets because she's A: Female B: African. They will all think they are good people because they feel like it would be giving the poor woman of Africa some kind of validation in their idealistic minds and prove once and for all we are all equal.

    Problem is this lady is going to be laughing all the way to the bank while all the bleeding heats have another pointless points to make in an ideological argument and less money in their pocket.

    Fund this and you are an idiot.

    EDIT:

    Damn it lilhasselhoffer I was typing my reply when you posted this! You stole my debunking powers you sum B!TCH! lol
     
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  4. RCoon

    RCoon Gaming Moderator Staff Member

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  5. Vario

    Vario

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    Mosquito netting is more useful than that.
     
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  6. lilhasselhoffer

    lilhasselhoffer

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    I believe I already stated that.... You seem to have found it for me though, so thanks.
     
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  7. Vario

    Vario

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    Whats wrong with candle/torch/fire etc?
    Electric lighting seems like a nonexistant problem by comparison to AIDS, malaria... etc
     
  8. lilhasselhoffer

    lilhasselhoffer

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    You seem to believe Africa is a forested haven for wood and other materials. Most Africans don't have the resources to produce candles (wax and animal fat are both consumed), let alone the resources to have long burning torches (read: wood supplies don't exist except for housing).

    Lighting effectively allows you to work during the day, but still have things to do at night. They can prepare food, or even have some shot at an education whenever the sun goes down. It's a far better situation than working all day and never being able to better yourself because your productivity ends when daylight wanes.
     
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  9. natr0n

    natr0n

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    cheaper to send them solar powered white christmas lights and condoms.
     
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  10. TheMailMan78

    TheMailMan78 Big Member

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    The rest of the world managed pretty well.
     
  11. lilhasselhoffer

    lilhasselhoffer

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    ....

    The rest of the world is not managing well. They are managing to exist in environments that are very non-conducive to human life. If native Africans were plopped down in the Mediteranean then we would have a much different story.

    I don't believe our way of life is superior to native Africans, but our way of life offers us a substantial bit more opportunity. In the western world children get to go to school, medical care is wide spread and relatively affordable (though that term is rather plastic depending upon where you are), and food is available to most people on demand.


    Consider it rather backwards, but the majority of the rest of the world sucks. Travel to South America, Africa, or large stretches of Asia and you've got poverty, death, and almost criminal ignorance from institutions which should be working to better peoples' lives. Poverty can be alleviated with education, death can be prevented with education and practices, and ignorance dies under the scrutiny of education.


    So yes, I view sending lighting to Africa as a 100% good thing. The point I am trying to make is that some methods are stupid and others are impossible. Counting on available natural resources is foolish, as they may not exist. Creating something that requires constant maintenance, like solar panels, is foolish. Having anything with a battery immediately diminishes the time any contributions can last (solar panels would require storage to work at night). High cost solutions are foolish, because maintaining the products will not be possible.


    This is why the maraca idea, solar panels, and just making their own lights are all foolish ideas.

    I talk about the gravity fed lighting because you've got limited ways that the thing can fail. Parts are cheap, and replacement parts can be fashioned out of recycled (read: scrounged) material. The human power investment is low, so people don't have to decide between expending energy shaking a tube or farming their land. Power doesn't need to be stored, so obsolescence of the device is functionally a non-issue. Combine a simple light source with a crack at a decent education, and you've got a better world. Nothing brings change like a motivated and educated person. If we were somewhat optimistic, it wouldn't be difficult to see people agreeing to use those condoms once the church "education" was supplanted with a real one.

    Yes, AIDS is a big problem. The bigger one is that criminal misinformation is being spread by the church. They say that you can't get AIDS if you only have sex with young women. They say that you can only have sex for the purposes of reproduction. They spread vicious rumors, outright lies, and their tactics cost human lives.



    In short, I agree with most of what natr0n said. Repurpose white led Christmas lights, develop a cheap gravity generator, develop a base line educational plan, and send condoms to Africa. Between lighting, education, and the means to use an education we can make life better. The maraca idea is a rich person feeling guilty about how the impoverished live, and throwing money at a stupid solution in order to feel better. Doing something to make yourself feel better doesn't solve problems, it just temporarily alleviates your conscience without providing a solution to the problem.
     
  12. the54thvoid

    the54thvoid

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    Let's not ignore the slightly irksome problem central Africa (from West to East) has of tribal/religious conflict. Place is a fucking mess and nobody cares until oil shows up somewhere. Boko Harem, Al Shabab and the Christian (Catholic) do gooders that condemn contraception all make Africa a very fragile and entrapped place. There are no solutions. I'm sorry. We can pretend it will all get better one day but until the tribal and religious problems are eradicated progression in this country is condemned to failure. Making lamps for folk without power is such a tiny thing I can't get excited about it. Africa needs a form of social cohesion before it can get 'brighter'.
     
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  13. TheMailMan78

    TheMailMan78 Big Member

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    So much wrong with your argument Its hard to begin. Ill give it a try.

    1. Africa is not conductive to human life? Its where human life began. Parts of the middle east are FAR less inhospitable than Africa. Hell parts of Northern China are far more deadly.
    2. Northern Africa has had trade with Europe, Middle East and Asia for over 1000 years. Excuse for a lack of culture and education lies on the people at this point. Its their government or lack their of that's the problem. A antiquated mentality of hunters and gathers is the problem. Some of the basic building blocks of civilization like irrigation are witchcraft yet they are held down now because they don't have a light bulb? Guess what, the Egyptians nor the Greeks had them either......3000 years ago and they did better than Africa today.
    3. Central and South America are more developed and have just as much if not more a poverty rate in rural parts. They do not have electricity and yet have a higher literacy rate. Why? Culture.
    4. The Church's are at fault for the AIDS problem in Africa? Not the slaughter and rape of millions of people spreading pestilence in the Congo? No it the people who try and teach them how to irrigate the land and grow their own food that are the problems of Africa. Seems legit.

    I can go into far more detail but your view point is of an ideological perspective. This argument will go in circles. I have been to Central and South America. I have been to the Middle east and China. I have dealt with African companies and there is a DAMN GOOD REASON they are behind the rest of the world and its not because they don't have a F#$KING LIGHT BULB.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2014
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  14. lilhasselhoffer

    lilhasselhoffer

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    1) Life began in the oceans. Our ancient ancestors arose on the African continent. Just because we started there doesn't mean that it's an ideal location for life, or that the region could have remained locked into a single climate. On top of this, people live in some crappy places for good reasons. Nairobe had diamonds, norther China has freedom from invaders, and South America has resources.
    2a) The reason we have a connection to the Greeks is because a stronghold of knowledge was saved by Muslim invaders. The church had started on the crusades, and deemed that burning books was a good way to make people more pious. Whenever the western world decided to get its crap together we rediscovered the works of ancient Greece through the Muslims. Subsequently the Muslim world was consumed by religious extremists, and went down the intellectual black hole that the crusades started. The only reason we westerners have "culture" is because somebody else preserved it for us, while we went temporarily insane.
    2b) You realize that "lost civilizations" in Africa had all of the markers of advanced culture that Egypt did, around the same time frame. Egypt survived on the fertile crescent, and was controlled by a priest class. Those that could read and write ruled, and they didn't share their talents with the lowly workers. Civilization has come in many forms, and western civilization isn't the only model which has produced great wealth and prosperity for its peoples.
    3) They aren't more developed, they simply have a higher high class. The rich of Africa send their children to be educated, just as the wealthy of South America do. The impoverished in both areas don't get educations, don't have access to basic amenities, and both areas resort to violence in order to better themselves. If you don't believe me drive 30 minutes across the border from the United States into Mexico. Assuming you make it back, you'll see the exact same thing as Africa. If I didn't tell you where you were, I'd bet it would be impossible for you to tell me whether you were in African or American slums.
    4) You find me a good preacher in Africa, and I'll find you a dozen preachers that are retarding its development. I've known good people to go over there, and help. At the same time, the church is saying that use of condoms is a sin and making the relief workers passing them out effectively appear to be agents of Satan. Genocides happen without the involvement of religion, but they are more often than not started by it. If you'd like to do some research, check out the wikipedia page on genocides (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_genocides_by_death_toll). Genocides are more often ethnically motivated (ethnic identity largely being inextricable from religious bend) than purely on claiming resources.


    Being bass-ackwards is cultural, and to that I agree. People are indoctrinated into their cultures from birth, and a lack of education prevents them from seeing alternate truths. The belief that your gods will justify murder of your enemies is a damaging one. A light bulb doesn't fix that. A gun doesn't fix that. An army of peace keepers doesn't fix that. Your two solutions are to educate people or to remove them from the equation. As removing them means finding them new homes (or murder if you're a psychopath), it isn't an option. Giving the next generation the tools, specifically an education, to see past their preconceptions is the only way to better the situation.

    If you'd like to argue that, you've got some explaining to do. Everyone has that one older relative who's ready to call people from the middle-east sand niggers, believes that black people are inferior, and might even still hold a grudge against people in different sects of their own religion. I'm betting their offspring are slightly more tolerant, because they were better educated on other points of view. Their children were subsequently exposed to tolerance at home, and education elsewhere. That's what Africa needs. Expecting Africa to change in one generation is unreasonable. South America went through this decades ago (think Jesuits), but Africa was overlooked because the development of oil as a resource is relatively new. We generally only improve an area if they have resources we want to pillage...
     
  15. Vario

    Vario

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    Much of Africa is actually very fertile and has abundant natural resources but its been exploited by other civilizations for thousands of years. Some of that has been done by dividing cultures along tribal and religious lines to prevent a unified state. The negative correlation between GDP growth and natural resource abundance has lead to a lot of economics debate. My theory is Its possible that early on, African civilizations didn't develop more advanced technology because of the ease at which natural resources could be harvested by traditional means (hunter gatherer). Then as other civilizations (Greece, Rome, Arabs, Europe, etc) developed superior technology out of necessity, it became easier for them to pillage resources from the Africans.
     
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  16. the54thvoid

    the54thvoid

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    This is going way off topic but it's a fantastic mixing pot of ideas and personal opinions. Should say we can't compare Africa with anywhere else. It's the only country that has been continually inhabited by man since we walked/lurched out of Olduvai gorge. As for South American comparisons - stop right there - South America, *ahem* like USA was invaded by a pretty much Christian empire (or waves of it leading to a colonisation of 'single mindedness' and unity of ideology. That only happened in the past 4 centuries. Europe has been Christian since Pilate washed his hands and sealed JC's fate. White/Sallow skinned supremacy FTW.
    Africa as argued has a climate and resource abundance (well it did) that reduced the necessity for invention, coupled with regions of hostility, hell, it's an interesting place. Unfortunately, European colonialism (yet again doing what it does worst) also helped destroy much of the indigenous culture (in certain countries) leaving behind a very schizophrenic tribal mentality that seeks to fill a power gap that is left when the Frenchies and Brits bail out.
    What you then get is a fracturing of a country into those who helped whitey being obliterated by those that were more oppressed and so on and so forth. Again, for ultra contemporary reference, look at ISIS in Iraq right now. Sadam (a Sunni) kept everyone down but when he was toppled the Shia majority excluded the Sunni's from power. Now we have a monstrously militant Sunni brigade reaping a bitter ethnic cleansing of all Shia and sympathisers they can find.
    Wow, proud to be white christian? - fuck no. Besides, I'm a pseudo bhuddist - be excellent to each other.

    But hey, go maracas.
     
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