SPARK helps children do their homework and cuts down on kerosene-related accidents in developing nations.
Playing a musical instrument requires a fair bit of energy, so why not convert that into something useful, like electricity for people who don’t even have access to lighting? SPARK is a percussion instrument being promoted by the percussionist from British electronica band, Faithless, that does exactly that. It’s part of a project called Shake Your Power, which aims to bring clean energy to parts of the world without electricity through the power of music.
Designed by Royal College of Art graduate Diana Simpson Hernandez, SPARK gathers energy thanks to a magnet that moves backwards and forwards through a coil of copper wire called a solenoid. This energy is then stored in a rechargeable battery, which means it doesn’t have to be used right away. While the instrument is mainly intended to provide power, the beads inside also give it a unique musical quality that makes it the perfect addition to a musical performance.
One place which could really benefit from this particular idea is Kenya, a country where 75 percent of the population lives without access to electricity. As stated by Sudha Kheterpal on SPARK’s Kickstarter page, “I’ve tested the prototype with a number of different communities in Kenya and have proven it is incredibly useful to people. Children, teachers and village elders have all embraced it.”
Not only does SPARK provide children with a way to do their homework at night, it also keeps families safer by eliminating the the need for kerosene lamps. The clean energy can give people access to mobile phones, which allows for great connectivity with other communities, and access to innovative new services such as the money transfer platform M-PESA.
SPARK is currently raising productions funds through Kickstarter, so head over there now if you want to make a pledge. Kherterpal urges:
I passionately believe we need to look at how to harness alternative sources of renewable energy that are good for people and the planet. For me, this project is also 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.