Portable Light is an interdisciplinary research, design and engineering project to create and implement new models for energy efficient electrical power and lighting. The project applies creative processes and strategic integrative thinking to optimize existing semi-conductor technologies and create new applications to serve the large number of people—more than 2 billion—who do not have access to electric light or power.
It is based upon the principle that global needs for technology development are inevitably interconnected. Knowledge, techniques, market solutions and data produced by the project benefit the “third” world and the “first” world where the need to imagine, design and develop energy efficient alternatives to the centralized and increasingly costly electrical grid is becoming ever more important.
The Portable Light is a series of prototypes that integrate flexible solar cells and super bright LEDs into lighting solutions. A bright digital light of 80 lumens per watt can be produced by a single miniature diode and powered by small areas of flexible photo-voltaic (solar panels) as a result of the high brightness LEDs (hBLEDs) incorporated into the Portable Light. The hBLEDs are bright enough to read, work and illuminate area at night. While the long term goal is to integrate the technology directly into textiles, the Portable Light project has done a fabulous job of incorporating off-the-shelf components into functional designs for starters.