If a storm suddenly knocked out your electricity, how long could you survive? You’d probably be fine for a day or so, but what about when your phone finally dies and the food in your fridge starts to spoil? This is a challenge that residents of the Alexandra township, in Johannesburg, must tackle every day. Most of the residents live without electricity, while others pirate their power through illegal connections that are extremely dangerous.
After visiting the township and gathering relevant information, industrial design student Murray Sharp and his team were tasked to design a solar lighting kit specifically for this community. In order to be practical for Alexandra residents, the light had to be inexpensive, bright, durable, safe and versatile. All words that seem appropriate for the team’s concept, dubbed the Hawk Light.
In order to design a solar lighting solution that would truly be of use to the community, Sharp and his fellow designers had to first spend some time understanding the people who would eventually use it, as well as their daily energy needs. It quickly became apparent that people needed something more than a flashlight for emergencies. As such, it was determined that in addition to a solar panel the lamp would need to include a wall plug/transformer as a secondary power source. The light would also need an outlet so users could charge other electronic devices such as cellphones.
As pointed out in this review, the final design features a detached solar panel and compact casing that houses three LED strips positioned at an interval of 60 degrees. The entire light is made up using only 3 molds, which reduces manufacturing costs, and its versatile design allows it to be stand on a table, wall mounted or hung from the roof.