LuminAID solar-powered inflatable lantern - simply a good idea


November 15, 2011

LuminAID is an extremely lightweight and easy to transport, solar-powered inflatable waterproof lantern

LuminAID is an extremely lightweight and easy to transport, solar-powered inflatable waterproof lantern

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Although it can be considered as a basic human need alongside food, water and shelter, 1.6 billion people all over the world have no access to stable and safe source of light. It's a situation that two bright young Architecture graduates are aiming to combat with the LuminAID solar-powered lantern. Like the Solar Pebble initiative, the LuminAID lantern is designed to address dependence on kerosene lamps in the developing world and its extremely lightweight and easy to transport inflatable design is also targeted at use in disaster relief situations ... plus it makes a very handy addition to your camping kit.

At first glance the LuminAID resembles a simple plastic bag, but its coating is made of flexible, semi-transparent waterproof material with a printed dot matrix to diffuse light and it incorporates a very thin solar panel, bright LEDs that provide the light source and a reinforced handle for easy carrying.

LuminAID is fully charged after 4-6 hours in sunlight makes and is reportedly good for up to four hours of lighting at 35 lumens, or up to six hours at 20 lumens. The battery can be recharged 800 times.

Founded by Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta, both graduates from the Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation in New York LuminAID Lab is currently field testing the inflatable lamp is in Rajasthan, India, where fifty percent of households lack electricity. It's being distributed to rural schools, homes and small-business owners.

LuminAID Lab says 100 percent of funds will go to producing and distributing the LuminAID lights to you and to our community projects.

It's possible to back LuminAID project by purchasing the lamp via on IndieGoGo. A pledge of US$25 results in purchasing two units - someone in need will obtain one lamp for free, while you'll get your own too.

For US$50 you get a carabiner and a LuminAID t-shirt (Adventure Pack), or print pattern on the coating designed by graphic designer Hillary Cribben as well. You can also back the project by US$10 without obtaining a lamp, or donate a larger sum (US$100 - 1,000) to purchase multiple lamps. The production of lamps will take 45-60 days.

Sounds like a great deal to us ... and a fantastic project.


Great idea. Needs a USB charge outlet so that people in those remote communities with cellphones don\'t have to walk 7 miles to get their phones charged.

Andy Barrow

This thing is like every other solar powered light I have seen: worthless!

35 lumens is 2% of the output of a regular light bulb. It\'s about a tenth of the output of a cyalume light stick.

You can\'t read by it, but it\'s just enough to screw up your night vision.

Jon A.

Excellent Innovative.

Anumakonda Jagadeesh

Hmmmmm In a place of absolute darkness, this would a good thing - \"kind of\".....

But I don\'t like it for two good reasons. With very low levels of light, you need to have directional lighting - instead of dispersive.

And so it\'s inflatable? Like so what?

It would be better if it was a cigarette packet sized plastic box, with a ring at one end and a sealed on off switch and LED at the other.

That way it could be hung on some wire or rope or on a nail etc, and be aimed at what people wanted to see - and if the container displaced more water than it\'s mass - it would be a floater as well.

But this - it\'s an example of \"Do Goody Good\" cluelessness and pointlessness.

Mr Stiffy

Come on, it\'s not as bad as all that. They\'re trying to replace kerosene lamps, which put something like 10 - 20 lumens, not light bulbs.


The kerosene lanterns I own put out several times more light than a solar LED lamp. They still aren\'t as good as a real light bulb, but they\'re much better than candles.

I like the idea of solar LEDs, but was very disappointed by the reality.

Jon A.

Lets think logically, it\'s not a reading lamp. and with a few minutes to adjust a human can see quite well at those light levels. As for being inflatable it presents a wider disbursement of the light and more importantly it is also deflatable and should fold nicely for storage. @ Mr Stiffy we already have those, we call them flashlights or a torch if you will, ( I don\'t understand you comments) I do hope the bag is made of very tough plastic and it should be easily and cheaply replaceable.

Dave C

25 bucks for a 2 dollar solar cell, a buck-fifty LED and a ziplock baggie? Come on! I can go to RadioShack and make this exact same thing for under 5 bucks if I buy everything off the shelf....Heck, what\'s to stop you from just grabbing one of those LED yard lamps and hanging THAT on your backpack?


I wonder if it incorporates a joule thief circuit - now i know your curious !!!!

Steve Rock

LuminAID is quite interesting, and quite different among all the other solar solutions

Yotam Ariel
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