By Tuan Nguyen
Posting in Environment
Students have created a sustainable light bulb using plastic water bottles.
Some of you may have heard the familiar saying "One man's trash is another man's treasure." But I'm going to ask you for a minute to think of all the potential ecological benefits if such a perspective was applied on a global scale. Re-using and re-purposing non-biodegradable junk would perhaps mean less landfills, pollutants and fewer floating threats to marine life -- just to name some of the top of my head.
One of the more ingenuous examples I recently came across can be found at MIT, where students have created a sustainable light bulb using plastic water bottles. It also happens to be the world's most affordable bulb, with additional materials consisting of only water and bleach, a combination that produces lighting equivalent to a 60-watt bulb. The project was born out of a Isang Litrong Liwanag ("A Liter of Light"), an organization that's working to bring low-cost indoor lighting to developing regions in the Philippines.
- PHOTO GALLERY: Humanitarian tech: gadgets that aid relief efforts
The principle behind how the bulb works is as simple as the technology. CBS News explains:
A plastic bottle is filled with water and bleach. That's it. That water refracts light from the sun in all directions and disperses the sun's rays that would otherwise go in one direction inside the home. The bleach prevents algae and particle build-up, keeping the water clear. Once the "light bulbs" are assembled, they are put through holes in the roof. The process can be done in an hour.
So far, workers have installed 10,000 of them in homes in Manilla. The obvious drawback is that the light bulbs are only functional during the daytime, but even then, installing them translates to tremendous costs savings for families who can ill-afford what they consider a luxury.
(via CBS News)
Related on SmartPlanet:
- Bye bye imported oil? New tech converts junk plastics into fuel
- A bicycle that produces drinking water may help thirsty villages
- Invention uses sunlight to produce clean water
- Invention turns fog into drinking water
- Infographic: What is the water footprint in the U.S.?
- New irrigation system helps farmers conserve water
- Behold! The world’s skinniest house
- No job’s too small for world’s tiniest 3-d printer
- Video: China unveils world’s longest sea bridge
- Video: natural gas facility to be world’s largest floating object
Jul 29, 2011
I believe the writer meant to say ingenious instead of ingenuous. Ingenuous means sincere, honest, or naive, whereas ingenious means clever or inventive.
there's an old afterdark version that kids make with bioluminescent micro marine organisms in it. It had been upgraded to arthouse furniture and lighting - where as that technology at right now i wonder?
I have to applaud and also wish local architects had been half as smart when spending the economic stimulus money on our new school buildings. Yes they have windows but still suck electricity for lighting during daylight and worse use mercury containi ng bulbs headed later to landfill. And they are not even full spectrum bulbs so the kids feel abnormally fatigued restlessunder them.
...to see what people elsewhere consider a "luxury". We are so wealthy that even the "poor" here would scoff at this as "wonderful".
The headline should have read, "recycling soda bottles to be used as light tubes (or prisms)". That's all. Noble gesture but hardly an engineering feat.
pardon the pun, but I think the headline got folks to look at the video who wouldn't otherwise have looked. It accomplishes the same thing as a 60 watt bulb does, at least during the day, so enjoy their ingenuity, resourcefulness and appreciate the real improvement in people's lives. Bringing back and updating ingenuity from our past is a legitimate newsworthy thing to do, and generally speaking, the simpler the technology, the more likely it is to make a difference. There's a lot to like about this, and thanks for sharing the news!
This idea came out of Africa and hit Youtube over a year ago. The difference is it was done adhoc. Drill a hole in the roof and insert the sealed bottle. No assembly line, no special device.
One of the most "ingenuous" examples? Don't you mean "ingenious?" If in doubt look in the dictionary. And yes, the headline is misleading.
Just goes to show, that no matter where you are or how far you are from civilization, you'll always find a coke bottle!
I agree that this was a misleading headline. It is a skylight. When MIT comes up with somethng this economical that works after sunset... NOw that would be something incredible!
Finally folks, everyone on the planet can afford their own Micro SubNuclear Zero Point Energy Fusion Electric Generator!! Well, it's not sub-nuclear zero point energy based, and there is no electricity, but it is 'named' this, so... whatever. Got it. I was hoping they took the polyethylene bottle, filled it with a couple of cheap recyclable chemicals, stripped an aluminum can, spiraled it with wax paper, and ....etc. etc..... until they ended up with an electroluminescent light source... or something?? Cheap shot.
For houndreds of years sailing ships used deck prisms as a way of safely providing natual sunlight to illuminate areas below decks. Too often we forget to study the past to learn about solving some of our present problems.
I thought it was going to phosphoresce at night! But maybe my disappointment is due, in part, to my developed-world way of thinking. Since I live in a home full of windows, far from my neighbors, it would never occur to me that people in a crowded third-world shantytown would derive any benefit from "skylights" to let in daylight.
This outstanding example is good. However, water bulb, if I am allowed to call it, is not going to satisfy the community to avoid the luxury in living for the global warning. We need to change our lives style in order to live longer in this blue planet. Just an opinion!
Not a dishonest headline--just an example of cognitive synonymy. Anyway, great idea to use the bottles to re-create the glass ship's prism, which is an old invention.
That was a very misleading and dishonest headline. What you have there is a skylight, which is a form of window. it's a cute skylight, but it's not a lightbulb. It's one example of the class of "solar-powered flashlights" - not much use in the dark. Let's describe things as they are - not as we would like them to be.
Certainly not a light bulb as we understand the term. When I visit my in-laws in California I am impressed with the light tubes they have installed in their roof. Brings in a lot of light during the the day to a windowless interior corridor and obviates the need for electric lighting. The soda bottle light is an ingenious way to achieve the same effect in a much more modest dwelling. .
I am sorry I do not agree it is cheaper. A window would not only do a better job but also the running cost would be lower. No Water or Bleach to be carried to the roof and syphoned out to refill. Also the cost of fitting a window in a wall would less likely to leak. Sounded god until you think about it..
I don't know where or when this idea originated any more than you do, but I saw 2 houses built with this idea over 20 years ago by I 10 in central Texas. Of course, glass was, and still is, a much more sensible material. BTW, bleach does NOT prevent algae, per se. it kills it . So when the chlorine is dissipated-aw heck the bottle will fall through first.
This is not a light bulb, it's a deck prism. And it's not sustainable, it's recycled. The other drawback is it's still another hole in the roof. But it would certainly be cheap to replace. Here's another idea. Glue all those bottles together and build a boat. Fill them with recycled styrofoam peanuts and it would be nearly impossible to sink. The same material could make a well-insulated house with built-in "lighting" - the entire structure would be a skylight. The idea isn't bad, but the headline was badly chosen.
Certainly not a light bulb. < That's a period there. These headline writers need to read the story or something. I'm going to read about the new ZERO EMISSION supersonic jet!!!! I wonder if it's a jet? or zero emission? I'm shuddering with anticipation!!
Window glass is a luxury. Cutting corrugated steel panels is a luxury. Having a freestanding wall to use for a window is a luxury.