Luci solar-powered lantern by Mpowerd Inc.
$15.95 at mpowerd.com
Amidst all the flashy, costly gadgets on display at the recent Consumer Electronics Show, none was more impressive than this little device, which generates hours of brilliant light by capturing the power of the sun.
Luci resembles a cylindrical inflatable pillow. It’s flattened out when you rip open its package, and you blow into an air valve to fill it up. Inside sits an array of light-emitting diodes that radiate a brilliant blue-white light. A pushbutton control on the base lets you switch between bright and dim light, as well as a setting that makes Luci rhythmically flash on and off. Luci is bright enough to illuminate a small room, and makes an excellent reading light.
But what makes this product so special is the array of solar cells on its underside. You charge it up simply by turning Luci bottoms-up and placing it out in the sun. A day’s worth of charging generates enough power to provide about six hours of nighttime illumination, according to the manufacturer.
Luci would make a marvelous lantern for hikers and campers, but its creators have a bigger goal in mind. They hope to distribute Luci lights to people in developing countries, where electric power is unreliable or nonexistent. The company says its goal is the elimination of “energy poverty,” It’s a noble aspiration, backed up with an outstanding new product.
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