The latest technology of giant gadget maker Panasonic is the so-called Solar LED Lantern, a gadget that not only provides light and can charge phones, but can also save lives in remote areas of the world, where it can replace the toxic and less-effective kerosene lamps.
The lantern was developed as part of the “100 Thousand Solar Lantern Project“, an initiative of Panasonic to provide electricity and light to 1.32 billion people in developing countries across Africa and Asia. It all started back in 2006, when the Ugandan Minister of State brought to the public attention the health problems associated with using kerosene lamps and the black smoke generated by them in his country.
Since then, Panasonic together with NGOs and UN organizations, decided to explore how solar technologies can be used to save lives, resulting in the development of the solar lantern. Now, the company’s aim is to donate 100,000 of these gadgets by 2018, when Panasonic will celebrate their 100th anniversary of their founding.
The BG-BL03 Solar LED Lantern is equipped with a 3.5 watt solar panel, an USB charging dock and a LED lantern, which can illuminate at 360 degrees. After only 6 hours of charging, the gadget can provide as much as 90 hours of brightness, when used at its lowest setting. If the energy that the lantern harnesses from the sun is used to charge a cell phone via the USB port, the battery could be fully charged in 2 hours twice.
The invention is quite brilliant in a way, not only because of its technical characteristics, but also because of its many uses and great demand. The guys at Panasonic are proud to announce that in 2012, when 2000 lanterns were donated to communities in Cambodia, they were able to provide light to medical facilities, schools and small businesses.
The next on the list are Myanmar, where Panasonic is sending 3,000 lanterns, India- 5,000, and another 2,000 going to refugee camps in Africa. Shortly after, the company will send units to Indonesia, Bangladesh and Malaysia.