Ingenuity astounds me.
I sometimes look around and try to imagine how certain things came to be. How certain objects were invented. How someone brought into the world objects that had never been there before, but we now cannot imagine being without.
Undoubtedly, there are various technological innovations, such as the laptop I am writing this article on and my mobile phone, that I am simply in awe of. I cannot even begin to comprehend the levels of intricacy, physics, and mathematics that go into producing these. Somehow, it is easier to accept that these are just are. This being because to obtain a working knowledge of their processes would take a period of dedicated study to even understand, never mind produce.
It is those everyday items that oft time amaze me. Having spent a period recently tutoring kids, the intermittent boredom that comes with supervising grammar exercises and teaching the time has drawn my attention to just those simple things: the pencil, the eraser, the pencil sharpener, the biro with a spring. We take them for granted and often forget that they had to be created. Someone had to have the vision to see, the skill to create, and the confidence to transform an idea into a physical object that they believed could make our lives easier and better in some way.
Alfredo Moser is one such inventor. What he has created is intrinsically simple but has instantly and genuinely transformed and enhanced the quality, and cost, of a huge number of people’s lives. It is not a gimmick he has created, neither it is something that is pushed on people to make them believe that they “need” it in their lives. Through a plastic bottle, water and bleach, through the simplest physics, he has given the gift of light to hundreds of thousands of people’s lives. Importantly, these are people who live often without light, in shanty houses, who cannot get access to or afford regular electricity. By filling a two-litre plastic bottle with water, adding 2 capfuls of bleach to keep the water from going green from algae, and fixing the bottle in the roof, simple refraction of sunlight gives between 40 – 60W of light. The costs are minimal, with only these simple materials necessary. This invention has spread from Moser’s native Brazil to places such as Thailand, Bangladesh and the Philippines, as well as being taken on by large organizations such as Change and MyShelter to provide light to many of their projects.
“One man…installed the lights and within a month he had saved enough to pay for the essential things for his child, who was about to be born”, whilst these lamps have also allowed people in poorer areas to grow food on small hydroponic farms. While some of our most important companies are using thousands of dollars to create Instagram Video, Mr. Moser’s invention, from which he earns very little, is changing people’s lives, quickly and affordably, for the better.