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A Musical Instrument That Generates Power When You Play It

Sudha Kheterpal has been a professional percussionist for 20 years, so she knows how much energy goes into making a beat. Now, she wants to harness that energy to generate power.

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Kheterpal has invented the Spark–a device that sounds like a maraca but is as useful as a solar cell. It’s an instrument with three chambers. The two on the outside are filled with beads. The one in the middle has a magnet that moves up and down a coil of copper wire, charging up a battery. Twelve minutes of play is enough to power an LED light for an hour.


Kheterpal, who has played with artists like Faithless and Dido, has been working on a prototype for more than a year, and recently visited Kenya to test it out. She says people there loved it, as you can see in the Kickstarter pitch below:

There’s no shortage of low-cost lighting solutions aimed at off-grid communities. We’ve come across the GravityLight, the Moser Lamp, and various solar-powered lamps, like this one.

But the Spark does have points of differentiation. For one, it’s amusing. You could imagine groups of kids playing Sparks together and generating power while they do it (in this respect, it’s like the Sockett ball). It’s also educational. Kids can take it apart and learn about kinetic energy, Kheterpal points out.

“I really believe that it’s the learning and the technology together that’s going to make the biggest impact,” she says.

Kheterpal hopes to raise enough money to finish the prototype, manufacture the product, and distribute a few thousand in Kenya. You can support her campaign here.

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