I think my social media feed is pretty normal: happy shiny people doing things, inspirational quotes, a quiz or two testing my spelling or math skills, and lots of cat videos. Sometimes though you can find truly inspirational things among the chatter.
The latest thing that caught my attention was a blurb about a Kickstarter campaign. It was for a solar inflatable lantern and phone charger. The team behind the campaign already had a good track record. They were the folks behind LuminAID. LuminAID is an inflatable, waterproof and solar-powered LED light which was designed by two Columbia University graduate students. After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta got an assignment at school to develop a product to help with disaster relief. Since access to light is a huge problem after any kind of disaster, the two focused their energies on developing what eventually became LuminAID. There are already several versions of LuminAID in the market but this campaign was for a lantern that also included a phone charger. Given our reliance on our phones at all times (let alone emergencies), the addition of a phone charger is a game changer.
I love the simple elegance of the product. After being charged in the sun, the LED based product provides hours of light without the burden of having to find a power source including batteries. One model provides 24 hours of light on a single charge and is plenty bright. Since designing the original, the team has distributed more than 25,000 lights to charities in more than 60 countries. And if you’re curious, the lights can be bought from Amazon or their site starting at $15 – a bargain if you ask me.
While originally created for emergency use, the hiking and camping communities have embraced the products as well. For example, I’m a perfect candidate for their new product. I’m not exactly the camping type but I routinely find myself lost on hikes through no fault of my own (well aside from blindly trusting my partner). You see, he loves to leave clearly marked paths to go down unmarked ones and we inevitably get lost – except we don’t use the “L” word… he calls it going on an adventure. So it would be good to have one of the new lanterns in the backpack for the times our “adventure” would require our walking back to home base in the dark. And if we’ve used our mobiles to figure out how to get back then the phone can be charged en route too. Actually this reminds me: it’s time to start carrying a pair of secateurs. It’s getting warmer so I can’t rely on my jacket to push away the stinging nettles but I digress …
The path is clearly marked but where do you think he went? Picture courtesy of yours truly. All rights reserved.
By now you’re probably wondering what this post has got to do with CFD. Well, nothing unless you want to design a cool LED light in which case I strongly recommend that you take a look at FloEFD. I am writing this post because we celebrated International Women’s Day a few days ago and it turns out last week was also Engineers Week. So I thought it would be fun to celebrate both at the same time. And I’m happy to add that I’m not the team’s only fan either as they raised all the funds they needed early to complete the project. Celebrations all around.
Oh and lest I be accused of celebrating accomplishments of women only, well I guess you’ll just have to wait until the week of November 19 to read about my celebrating International Men’s Day by highlighting the accomplishments of a male engineer or two. In the meantime, here’s to all the inventors and dreamers regardless of gender. Happy belated Engineers Week folks.
Until next time,