Many of you have been impacted by the story of SunNight Solar, and their BoGo light (Buy One, Give One). Founded by former US Diplomat Mark Bent, SunNight Solar uses the latest scientific advances in solar and lighting technology to provide light to people in developing countries. When you purchase a light from them, they match your purchase and send a light to the location of your choice. SunNight Solar posted a Challenge to the InnoCentive Marketplace to improve their existing light, so that it could illuminate an entire room as well as work as a handheld flashlight. The Challenge was solved and the company has already begun production of these improved lights, less than a year after posting the Challenge. I recently asked Mark for an update on this exciting project - his thoughts are below:
My name is Mark Bent, and I posted the Challenge to improve the design of my original solar flashlight on Innocentive. This need for improvement came as a direct result of feedback from World Bank and Department of Energy field research on my lights in Africa. People liked the original device, but it did not replace a kerosene lantern, because it did not light up a room. After trying, and failing, to develop a light which had this feature, I turned to Innocentive, with support from the Rockefeller Foundation.
Within the next ten days - by the end of October 2008, we will have a second factory come on line to produce our lights - the original factory cannot keep up with the demand. Via Innocentive, our electronics and other components are pretty amazing and the lights have been very, very welcomed by the consumer and are in use worldwide.
We are starting up a new program to get these lights to our military serving in Iraq and Afghanistan - the SL-2 - SunLight 2, or SuperBoGo, was so well received by the Marines and soldiers, we wanted to do another program to get them more lights - please see http://www.warlights.com/. These will be camouflage lights - not a good idea to carry bright orange lights in a war zone and the combat soldiers probably would not appreciate the pink lights much either.
We continue to improve this model and will be coming out with variations in the very near future, both in appearance and in function - lights which cure jaundice in infants via blue LEDs will be the next light and we have many more versions planned.
Thanks InnoCentive and thanks to all of the customers who support our BoGo Lights and other social programs.
CEO - SunNight Solar