An LED lantern that runs off heat energy from a candle may seem as pointless as an electric space heater powered by burning logs, but the Luminiser is just such a lantern. Created by Norwegian waste-heat reclamation company ThermTech, the Luminiser Lantern that's currently the subject of a crowdfunding campaign uses a tea candle to power an array of LEDs for up to six hours.
Devices that can directly convert heat into electricity have been known since the early 19th century. By the 1940s, the Russians were manufacturing kerosene lamps that used thermoelectrics to power radios in rural areas that were too remote for either mains electricity or reliable supplies of batteries.
Thermoelectrics are used to power spacecraft, including the Curiosity rover on Mars, remote navigation beacons, and even smartwatches. In recent years, we've seen LED systems that generate power from camp stoves, wearables, and paint. However, where camp stoves use burning wood to produce electricity, the Luminiser scales things down by using tea lights.
Of course, this raises the question of why not just use the candle, since there are already lanterns available for the purpose, but the makers of the Luminiser say it can pump out produce 15 to 20 times the light the candle alone would.
The lantern can be used indoors or out, but it's the latter where the Luminiser will most likely shine, and it's been designed to be appropriately lightweight and rugged for such applications. Weighing 1 lb (0.45 kg), the lantern measures 5.5 in (14 cm) high when being carried, but stands 9.8 in (25 cm) high and 4.7 in (12 cm) across with its legs extended.
The Luminiser Lantern is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign with pledge levels starting at NOK600 (US$77) for the lantern. If the campaign proves successful and everything goes as planned, Luminiser Lanterns could be on their way to backers in August.
Check out the campaign video pitch below.
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