Materials Engineering Department
BS in Materials Engineering
Today, 1.6 billion people in the world do not have access to grid electricity. Villagers living off the grid in developing nations resort to kerosene lanterns to light their homes. The fumes from burning kerosene are toxic and lead to respiratory illnesses over time. Our sponsor, OneMillionLights, plans to help people to escape poverty by providing them with a clean source of light at night. Children that must work in the fields during the day can use a solar-rechargeable lantern at night to read or study, and street vendors can use the lanterns at night to improve their businesses.
The objective of this project is simple: design a portable lantern that recharges using solar power, can light up a small room, and has cell phone charging capability. Engineering a solar-rechargeable lantern involves the integration of several technologies, making the project well-suited as an interdisciplinary senior project. The LunaLight was designed by five engineers, with additional input from a graphic communications student and a finance student.
The LunaLight was designed to provide 6 hours of light on a full charge, and charge in 10 hours of direct sunlight using the external 2.5-W solar panel. The light has a USB port on the side and comes with a universal USB adapter to charge nearly every type of cell phone on the market. The dual LEDs provide twice the illuminance of a similar product already on the market. A slot in the bottom of the lantern allows the user to attach their LunaLight to the provided strap and hang the lantern from the ceiling or wear it as a hands-free light source.