Designer: Nokero International LTD - Stephen Katsaros
Location: Denver, Colorado, USA
The Nokero N200 is the world's only bulb-shaped solar light with a single solar panel, recyclable Ni-MH battery powering four wide-angle LEDs. The low and high settings offer 2.5-6 hours of light on one day's charge; with a feature that can be tilted toward the sun, giving superior charging efficiency.
I read Paul Polack's book "Out of Poverty" and realized that 95 percent of the world's engineers spend their time and energy designing products for only 10 percent of the people. I knew that I could use my talents to design something that can make a better world.
The problem is that billions live without reliable access to electricity, and most burn kerosene for light. These dangerous, unhealthy, and polluting lamps can be replaced with Nokero solar light bulbs, making a cleaner, healthier, more prosperous world. The challenge experienced was building a quality product that the most poverty-stricken people could afford. Yes, it was very exciting to come up with a product that is a safe alternative for families using fuel-based lighting has explosions and releases CO2 toxins creating an unhealthy atmosphere.
Core77: What's the latest news or development with your project?
We are working with a Native American group and Eagle Energy to help bring solar power to some of the roughly 18,000 households without electricity on the Navajo Nation.
What is 1 quick anecdote about your project?
In western markets, our solar bulb is fun - it's green, it's environmentally-friendly. But once in a while, sometimes in a surprising way, we will realize the impact we are having on the lives of real people who live without electricity worldwide. Last October we were working away in our offices, heads down at our computers, when suddenly a little boy in a blue t-shirt came around the corner. When Tom, our media director, saw him, he stood up to talk to the boy ... before he could speak, the boy ran forward and threw his arms around Tom's leg.
The boy was from Uganda, and had come to America from Aggie's baby home, where Nokero had donated a case of solar lights. His adoptive family came around the corner, tears in their eyes, and told us how much our bulbs had improved life at the orphanage. We take light for granted - but in Uganda light is a dangerous thing, and everyone at Aggie's baby home knows someone who has been burned, disfigured, or lost their homes to fire from a kerosene lamp.
Read on for full details on the project and jury comments.