I'm not usually a techno worshipping type, but here's a handy device that could transform people's abilities to get light without wasteful diesel generators or kerosene lanterns. It's called the GaiaLux Ecolight and has been entered in NASA's Create the Future design contest. Basically, it reuses discarded mobile phone chargers to get electricity to rechargeable batteries that in turn power a highly efficient LED bulb. It can be recharged on variable or low current and the batteries will run the light for 40 hours. It's a nifty idea that could reuse some of the 125 million phone chargers that are discarded every year as well as potentially providing affordable (and bright) lighting in places that need it.
A few follow-up questions for inventor John Barrie:
1. How much does the GaiaLux cost? Does the price make it within the reach of people with alarmingly low incomes? Are the materials and supplies that are necessary manufactured in the countries that might find uses for the light, or will they have to be imported?
2. How heavy is the light (because people who don't have their own electricity would likely need to carry it somewhere to recharge the batteries)?
3. Is it feasible to recharge the batteries through solar power?