While I really could have used this little device after Hurricane Sandy, when my family and I were without power for 10 days, it is the potential it offers for those with homes that are always off the grid that is even greater. The WakaWaka Power (you have to try to get past the image of Fozzie the Bear from the Muppet Show, if you can) is a solar-powered LED lamp and mobile charger in one. This is a product with a huge demand at the moment — the Dutch company Off Grid Solutions launched it in December on Kickstarter and within a week became one of the most funded projects on the site (the campaign ends on January 12th and to date has raised almost $275,000 U.S.). The iPhone-sized kit weighs seven ounces, delivers up to 60 lumens of bright, safe reading light for more than 40 hours on an eight hour solar charge, and can charge mobile phones from all brands. The battery will stay fresh for more than a year — users should make sure to recharge it before a big storm event occurs. I predict having a solar-powered battery charger will become a regular storm-prep item in years to come. It’s just so practical and useful, even if you just keep one in your car in case you break down somewhere remote.
For each WakaWaka Power sold during the crowdfunding campaign, one WakaWaka Light will be delivered to the UN Refugee Agency to be distributed to a Haitian family that is still living in darkness three years after the 2010 earthquake. Units will ship in May. To learn more, check out their Kickstarter site.