Innovative Appliances That Work Without Electricity

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Can you even picture a world without electricity? Think back to any time you’ve been in a situation of power shortage (like after a storm) and remember how difficult it was. Fumbling around for candles to use for light; hoping your computer and phone don’t run out of battery; no Internet, no TV, no toaster and no microwave.

Well, a world that doesn’t rely so heavily on electricity is just around the corner. Recent technology has seen the development of appliances that don’t need any electricity to work, and we’ve selected a few of the best innovations here.

Gravity lamp

Inspired to create a difference in developing countries that don’t have electricity, where people have to rely on dangerous kerosene lights, a team of UK-based engineers have come up with a lamp that needs no electricity at all to work.

The invention is called GravityLight, and as you might’ve guessed, it only needs gravity force to run.

The way it works is simple. The lamp has a bead cord at the end, and all you need to do is add 12 kg of weight to it. It can be anything, from rocks to a bag of sand. Then, by pulling the lamp down and placing the weight up, the light will start to work.

Thanks to gravity, as the weight slowly descends back to the ground, the potential energy is transformed into kinetic energy. This kinetic energy subsequently powers the gear to light up the LED. Once the weight has completely touched the floor, you’ll need to repeat the process, but each pull will give you about 20-30 minutes of light.

The cost of the lamp is expected to be around US $10.

Pedal-powered washer/dryer

The pedal-powered washer/dryer is also inspired by places where people who have no access to electricity need to spend up to 6 hours a day, 3-5 days a week washing clothes, in awkward positions which lead to health conditions.

Called GiraDora, this washing machine is operated by a push pedal. All you need to do is add detergent, water and the clothing, and then sit on the lid, which will seal the container and is also padded as a seat.

Then, thanks to a spring-loaded pedal moving at a high velocity, the materials inside start spinning, washing the clothes.

Radiational-cooling refrigerator

This innovative refrigerator (which needs no electricity to maintain cool temperatures), was developed by a Japanese engineer and inventor called Yasuyuki Fujimura, founder of Atelier Non-Electric, a company who focuses on creating home appliances that don’t need electricity to work.

To work, the refrigerator uses a phenomenon called radiational cooling, combined with the natural convection currents of water. Radiational cooling happens when infrared radiation is emitted from an object’s surface, thus causing its temperature to decrease. This is why nights are so cold in the desert; because all the heat goes up from the ground to the atmosphere and cools down the air.

The refrigerator is made of a high thermal conductivity metal, and water is stored around it as a way to cool it down. There are also a radiator panels located at the top of the refrigerator. When the things stored inside the unit release heat, it goes up to the radiator panel and is transformed into radiational cooling.

Non-electric computers

Scientists have created what once was thought to be impossible: a material that will allow computers to store and transfer information using light instead of electricity.

Computers are getting smaller and faster, but it’s possible that this discovery will unlock the next generation of computing power. These computers could be capable of using photons of light instead of electrons, which is similar to the shift from copper cable to fibre optic that has seen the creation of superior speeds for Internet connections.

Rather than processing information using electrons, using photons represents the possibility of a massive increase in computing power, with a reduction in the use of electricity.

Electricity generating smartphone case

Always running out of battery on your phone? What if its case could actually harvest electricity from the air? Well, soon it may very well do just that. Nikola labs, named after the famous inventor Nikola Tesla who first converted RF into DC (direct current) power over a century ago, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the further development and distribution of the technology.

The case converts signals like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and LTE into DC power using a specially developed energy harvesting circuit. This means you can extend the battery life of your phone by a claimed 30% with no impact on data transmission or calls. Order fulfilment from Kickstarter backers starts February 2016, but it doesn’t end here. Will Zell, the CEO of Tesla says that the team is working to enable an entire platform for powering future devices.

The team is made up of highly motivated and successful individuals, so this technology could be in your hands sooner than you may think.