SatLight Development

You might have seen pictures of our SatLights on our website, but you might be wondering what SatLights are and how have they have developed.

SatLights connect to the main GravityLight unit, transforming it from a single ambient light to offer multiple points of light, spreading light around a room or home. These can be hung high for room lighting or lower for a more focused task light.

Each GravityLight comes with two SatLights, but users can plug up to four SatLights into the main unit in a daisy chain circuit – plugging the first light into GravityLight, with subsequent lights in the chain plugging into each other.

The first SatLight prototypes were sent out to our GL01 trialists to gather feedback, and the results were really encouraging. People loved them and it transformed GravityLight from an ambient light into a mini ‘home system’, providing useful task lighting too.  You can see a picture of our first SatLights below:

In parallel with the development of GL02, we set about improving the SatLight design in a number of ways, using the trail feedback we received:

1) Increased their Efficiency

We switched from using a through hole LED to a Surface Mount LED, which are much more efficient and can operate at a good level of brightness against a low supply of voltage. To do this, we needed to install an on-board printed circuit board (PCB) to each SatLight, as seen in the image on the right.

2) Increase their flexibility

The presence of an on board PCB in each SatLight also meant that we were able to employ stereo cables, enabling us to build in a switching mechanism, giving users the ability to switch SatLights ‘on’ and ‘off’ – a sophistication that we take for granted in the west. The switch means that the power can be channelled to which ever light is ‘on’-  families now have choice and flexibility; they can choose between sharing the power between all of the lights, or just having one on to increases it’s brightness. 

To avoid adding unnecessary components and complexity to the design we built the switch function into the design of the SatLights upper and lower casings – meaning users simply had to twist the SatLight to move between settings.

3) Improving the geometry of design

The SatLights have developed a lot in shape through their different stages of design, which you can see from the pictures below that show the evolution of the SatLights.

The first SatLights resembled a standard lamp shade shape, however we realised there would be a number of improvements to the cost, efficiency and ease of use if we narrowed the light chamber:

  • Cost: By reducing the size of the lower light chamber there would be less materials needed in production, therefore it would lower the cost of the SatLights. 
     
  • Ease of use: With the new switching mechanism that was inbuilt into the upper and lower casing of the SatLight, the narrow design meant that it was easier to switch between settings, especially for users with smaller hands!
     
  • Efficiency: We found that if we narrowed the plastic moulding to catch the edge of the light beam, produced by the LED lenses cap, we could utilise the light being produced. With a narrower chamber, the light would now reflect into the inside of the SatLight casing and produce more light. To ensure the user could utilise this extra light, we also frosted the lower chamber.

SatLights are a great addition to GravityLight as multiple users can use them at once; this added benefit is important in our mission of eliminating kerosene lamps. Families using a kerosene lamp may only have one per household, meaning they have to share between the whole family. This seriously limits who can use the light and what it’s prioritised for - reading, cooking or socialising? 

SatLights not only provide this added flexibility but also offer families a wired home. For those living without electricity, the need of having a wired home and to be connected to the grid is an aspiration.  Although the electricity grid is growing, the number of people off-grid is expected to stay the same for the next 20 years, due to population growth. Therefore this mini wired system is a great advantage.

We hope you like the SatLights as much as we do!