How LuminAid Got Started

From the founders of LuminAid, Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta. The two share an interest in solar lighting technology and a common belief that design and design thinking can be used to solve problems at a global scale, including improving access to basic resources such as lighting and power. 

LuminAID co-founders Andrea and Anna with an early, homemade prototype
LuminAID co-founders Andrea and Anna with an early, homemade prototype

The LuminAID solar light was designed to fulfill the basic need for light in post-natural disaster situations shortly after the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti.  When thinking about what we could design to make a difference, we decided to focus on affordable, renewable light because it had the potential to greatly improve the comfort, safety, and survival of disaster victims.

While on a school trip to Japan, we unexpectedly found ourselves in the middle of the earthquake in March 2011. Having experienced first-hand how a disaster can negatively impact the lives of millions, we are motivated to make the LuminAID light a reality for those affected by disasters, crises, and conflict.

Our Patent Pending Solar-Inflatable Technology

The solar-inflatable technology developed by LuminAID Lab is patent pending both in the US and internationally through multiple filings that cover a broad range of applications and uses. The LuminAID light is our first application of this technology. The product packs flat and inflates to diffuse the light like a lantern and reduce the glare of the extra bright LEDs. For every 8 small conventional flashlights by volume, you can pack and ship approximately 50 LuminAID Lights. The inflatable material is also printable with patterns and logos.

LuminAid Technology

The LuminAID and Humanitarian Relief Aid

LuminAID’s goal is to make portable lighting a part of the supplies commonly sent as part of disaster relief aid. In addition to food, water, and shelter, light can greatly add to the well-being of victims of a natural disaster or crisis. Renewable lighting can aid those in situations where batteries are scarce and the electricity grid is disabled both immediately after a disaster and over an extended period of time. Over the past year, our company has put lights on the ground in the wake of disasters such as Hurricane Isaac in Haiti and Hurricane Sandy.

Popularity Among Outdoor Enthusiasts

LuminAidWhile designed for disaster relief, our product has quickly grown in popularity among outdoor enthusiasts for its innovative design (it even made National Geographic’s 2013 Gear of the Year list). After being charged in the sun for six hours, the LED light provides up to 16 hours of light — a feature that not only makes it more eco-friendly but essential in emergency situations when batteries are hard to find. Due to its inflatable design, it also provides diffused light like a lantern so it can be used to illuminate a room or tent. Moreover, since disasters often involve water, it is waterproof and able to float – a great feature for paddlers!

You can find specs and purchase the LuminAid here.

Camping this weekend? Be prepared…

Are you heading out for the weekend? Maybe a few nights at a State Park, or a couple of days at a hike-in-site.  Be prepared. Take a quick and simple inventory of your gear and you can make sure that you have a relaxing weekend.

  • Water
  • First Aid
  • Lights
  • Insect Repellent
  • Rain Gear/Rain Canopy
  • Camera

Water – In most cases water will be readily available in areas like State Parks, but that doesn’t mean it will taste good. For water that has already been treated check out the CamelBak Groove Bottle, it has an integrated charcoal filter so that your water always tastes great and each replaceable filter is good for 30 gal/114 L. If your water source is suspect try the Playpus Gravity Works Filter System. It does all the work for you, using gravity to move the water from one bladder to the other while passing it through an advanced, hollow fiber filter that effectively removes particulates, bacteria and protozoa.

First Aid – Plan for the minor emergencies. Bandages, aspirin, ibuprofen, safety pins, tweezers, antibiotic ointments, etc. Check out the Adventure Medical Kits Weekender, everything you need to be prepared in a compact, tri-fold carry case.

Light up the night – A lantern is nice and sets the mood, but in my opinion headlamps are a must at any campsite. Hands free means you can play cards, cook or make equipment repairs in the dark. Check your batteries and, even if you know that they are new, bring backups, nothing is more useless than a dead headlamp.

Insects – Unfortunately they want to co-exist with us and we don’t nearly appreciate them as much as they do us. Bring repellent, or better yet, treat your clothing so it does the work for you without all the smell. Solutions like the Sawyer Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent spray on your clothing and last up to 6 washings.

Rain – Depending on where you are this may seem like an impossibility. Here in Texas it seems like it will never rain again, but when it rains, well, it pours and this will ruin your trip if you aren’t prepared. Not only do you want to bring a tarp or canopy, but also a rain jacket. Something you can work in to set up camp or make provisions under should the rain sneak up on you.

Capture the moment – Most of us have a camera on our phone these days and that might suffice for your next adventure, if not, make sure you have some way to capture the special moments, we don’t want to hear about the one that got away….

Obviously this list can go on forever, but hopefully this sparks some reminders and helps make the next outing one to remember, for the good things ;-)

Steve @ACK