|A World Run on Windup|
New Generator Technology Brings Power With a Twist
inventor Trevor Baylis may have started a windup revolution. (BayGen
This is a story about power.
The power of an idea. Award-winning British inventor Trevor Baylis took the concept behind the common windup clock and applied it to radio technology, inventing the “clockwork radio.”
His goal was to provide a cheap, and accessible means of communication to people in Africa, where radios are the primary means of information distribution but electricity is scarce and batteries expensive. By making radio technology independent of electricity yet still reliable, the people in Africa would have access to information on preventive health care, relief and AIDS.
A South African company, BayGen, bought into the idea, but found the cost of the radio was too high for the African market. End of story? Hardly. BayGen began to build on Baylis’ idea, looking beyond radios, and beyond Africa.
In addition to the radio, BayGen developed a windup flashlight. Thirty seconds of cranking buys you seven minutes of light, courtesy of the same Baylis generator that powered the clockwork radio. BayGen found a market for its products under the “Freeplay” brand — mainly in developed countries, where the technology suits emergency preparedness kits, survivalist groups and a host of outdoor activities. Companies such as Innovative Technologies, a small Victoria, British Columbia, firm, have found markets for windup devices in North America.
Power to Change
Christina Serkowski of ABCNEWS.com contributed to this