Shake your power: musical instrument that creates electricity

Published 26 June 2014

Posted by Tanya Weaver

Article tagged with: design, kickstarter, renewable energy, musical instrument, kenya

SPARK is a musical instrument that generates enough kinetic energy to power a light or charge a phone

To get light you simply flick a switch, right? In many developing countries this isn’t always the case; for instance, 75 per cent of Kenya’s population live without access to electricity.

Given our ever increasing reliance on devices such as mobile phones and computers at work, it’s an incredible statistic to try an imagine.

Sudha Kheterpal, a professional percussionist who has toured the world with bands such as Faithless and The Spice Girls, has come up with a bright idea: SPARK, a prototype percussion shaker that converts kinetic energy generated from shaking into useable electricity.

The product, which was designed by RCA graduate Dian Simpson, resembles a flint stone on the outside and when opened contains beads on one end with the other end housing a magnet, coil of copper wire and a rechargeable battery. The battery is charged through shaking and devices can be plugged in via the USB socket.

Kimerek School, Kesengei, Kenya

To test out her prototype, Kheterpal took it with her to rural Kenya. As well as playing music with the kids (see video below) she also established how important the energy the device provides is for such basic tasks we take for granted.

A little girl who has to walk to school in the dark says she would feel a lot safer if she could carry a light with her. Similarly, a boy confessed that he couldn’t do any homework or read in the evenings as there was no light for him to do so.

The power of SPARK is also capable of charging a mobile phone, the key means in developing countries for banking and money transfers for new businesses.

In order to make SPARK a reality, Kheterpal has launched a Kickstarter campaign with the hope of achieving a £50,000 goal. This money will enable the manufacture and distribution of 1,000 shakers as well as to develop and test the educational assembly kits.

“For me, this project is about connecting people and bringing them together through music. Through the joy of playing music we can create something really useful, changing the world one beat and one shake at a time,” says Kheterpal.

 

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