Hackerfarm Brings Light to Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has a long road to recovery, and part of this is the damaged infrastructure: much of the electricity distribution network was destroyed, and will take months or years to rebuild. The Japanese hacker group [Hackerfarm], founded by Hackaday friend [Akiba], is looking to help by sending some of their solar lanterns to provide off-grid light.

They’ve already shipped one batch, and are using the proceeds from sales of these paper lanterns to send more of them to Puerto Rico, where they will be given out to those who need them. The group has carried out similar projects before, distributing lanterns to Tsunami-hit areas of Japan and to Rwanda, where a women’s group builds and sells the lanterns. It seems like a great cause, and the design of the lanterns is pretty neat. We love that they provide an introduction to soldering and serve a higher purpose at the same time.

We’ve mentioned Hackerfarm before, both as part of a growing rural hackerspace scene, and because of their insane EL-wire creations and choreography. And [Akiba] gave a great talk at last year’s Supercon where he discussed the ins and outs of getting virtually anything done in Shenzhen. Check it out if you haven’t already.

64 thoughts on “Hackerfarm Brings Light to Puerto Rico

      1. I don’t know. Perhaps they will be persuaded, by reduced fire hazard, and redused annoying, if not noxious emissions. As they failed I didn’t replace my wick lanterns that I used for camping and/or during power failed was gas mantle lanterns. In the Over time people who no have to purchase fuel would pay for the gravity light. In the even’t I’d purchase solar or gravity emergency lighting, I probably would hang onto the gas mantle lanterns because they would be superior in many application. However I wouldn’t use them indoors because when the power is out I don’t have pressurized water to fight a fire with.

        1. Yah, nothing says “I value your time and realise you have important stuff to do at night.” more than disturbing someone three times an hour to service their lighting solution. Result probably 1/2 hour of actual things done per hour, with the stopping, getting up, getting settled back to it, and possibly watching the light to see if it’s near the bottom yet in the last few minutes if you’re trying to do something that you can’t easily put down in the dark.

    1. nice.

      so 100mW for 20 mins by lifting a 12kg wait 1.8m up.

      potential energy E = m * g * z = 12kg * 9.81m/s^2 * 1.8m = 212 Joule = 59 mWh

      used energy = 100mW . 1/3h = 33.33 mWh

      so that’s roughly 50% efficiency, i feel like they can do (a lot) better.

      1. Friction is a bitch.

        They seem to have some plastic gears and belts in a plastic case, so 50% could very well be a thing here.

        Let me estimate the “cheap” gears at 90% (I found no details about the construction) and the electro motor at 90% and we are already at 81%. And belt drives can be pretty bad, so I assume 90% for the gear box is too high.

      1. Not these days, they’re collected at a central recycling location…

        … then sent to a 3rd world country where a 5 year old bites them open and spits the metals into a different bowl than the depleted electrolyte.

  1. What this article doesn’t state is that the first batch was 100% donation from Hacker farm to Puerto Rico. Hacker farm is also running a one-for-one campaign where they will send a lantern to PR for every one sold on their site. The distribution of the lanterns is also being personally managed in Puerto Rico by a photojournalist who has run successful aid campaigns to an Iraqi orphanage at the start of the 2nd Gulf War, villagers in need from the 2004 Indonesia tsunami, and victims of the 2010 sister island Haiti earthquake. Rather than discuss specs and logistics, let us globally band together and offer whatever aid we can to help those In need. Pick a disaster and just help! Namaste!

  2. ONE POSSIBLE OUT-OF-THE-BOX SOLUTION
    5 rechargeable AAA batteries and NV googles and you have complete night vision system for 50′ (15 m) tunnel vision. No solar lamps, no candles, no torches (aka flashlights) etc. No one can see you wearing this crazy-looking thing at night but you can see them. If you need to be up at night here is a possible solution. We at HaD could design one (hack one) to be used in PR and elsewhere. Also need to send oodles of alkaline AAA batteries or figure out how to recharge them with a hand stroke generator.

    1. Here’s a goggle view from NV Goggles (NVG). I’s pretty much tunnel vision and monochromatic – BUT better than nothing. Never throw away the batteries. They can be recharged – even alkalines too. Only needs 7vdc or 9vdc to power the NVG. You could recharge with solar cells during the day, or hand crank, or water wheel. And only use for critical night sojourns; conserve batteries. I know I mispelled GOGGLES in original posting above :-D

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