Having a proper light source while camping or backpacking is crucial to the outdoor experience, which is why camp lanterns have always been a popular accessory to carry with us on our backcountry adventures. Those lights usually require fuel or batteries to serve as a source of energy, which can become problematic on longer excursions. But a new lantern called the Luminiser powers its internal LED lights using a unique form of energy, potentially changing the lives of those who use it.
The lantern, which recently launched on Kickstarter, collects thermal energy from a simple tea candle and converts it into power that can be used to illuminate its LED bulbs. A single candle will create enough juice to keep the lantern going for five to six hours while creating 15 to 20 times more light than the candle could on its own.
Bjørn Eirik Birkeland, the designer of the Luminiser, tells Digital Trends that he came up with the idea for the lantern more than 1o years ago. “I was so tired of finding lanterns and flashlights with batteries that were either empty or destroyed because of their storage time. It was a problem back home, but also in my cabin in the mountains and on my boat,” Birkeland says. “It has pretty much occupied my life all those years since.”
In the early days, Birkeland investigated thermoelectric generators (TEGs), but found them to be wildly inefficient. At the years passed however, he developed five different prototypes, with each one improving on the concept and evolving over time. Eventually, the generators caught up to his vision, and gained the ability to actually power the lantern using just the heat from a candle.
“LED´s have become much better and today you only need 1 watt to generate 200-300 Lumens,” Birkeland says. “The timing is now perfect and The Luminiser has now become a really good alternative light source I think.”
Lightweight and compact, the lantern tips the scales at less than one pound and measures 5.5 inches in height with its foldable legs stashed away. That makes it small enough to place inside a backpack for easy transportation to the campsite. Once there, the legs can be folded back into position, extending its height to 9.8 inches, and allowing the lantern to stand on a flat surface.
When campers are ready to use the Luminisier, they simply light a tea candle and place inside the included glass holder. That apparatus than locks into place on the lantern itself, which begins collecting energy from the heat of the flame within seconds. To turn off the light, simply pull the glass holder out and extinguish the candle.
While the lantern obviously has benefits for outdoor enthusiasts, it can also be used in developing countries where electricity remains at a premium. Tea candles are small, lightweight, and relatively easy to obtain, making the Luminiser a potentially inexpensive and efficient light source for millions of people.
“The greatest advantage of The Luminiser and the tea light candles is there storage life,” Birkeland tells us. “It can be stored for years and years and still work perfect when you really need it.”
If the lantern becomes a success, Birkeland says that he has other ideas on how to leverage this technology. For instance, future models of the lamp may include a USB port to charge a smartphone or he may even create a standalone charger that is also powered by a candle.
For now, he is squarely focused on raising $31,700 on Kickstarter to get the Luminiser into production. If he is successful, Birkeland hopes to begin shipping the LED light in August for $125. However, early bird supporters can order one now for as little as $89.
Find out more on the Luminiser Kickstarter page.
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