Dear GravityLight supporter
We are so excited to be able to tell you that GravityLights are now reaching our trial partners, and are being distributed to kerosene users around the world. Already, we are beginning to receive the valuable user feedback required for independent product evaluation.
We aim to produce a comprehensive report from the trial data early in the new year and in the meantime will post further interesting news as the trial rolls out.
Production and shipment
Production of the Indiegogo pledgee’s GravityLights is well underway and we will be shipping the units to arrive from late December to early-February, depending on the destination.
We are constantly receiving general enquiries and interesting suggestions from people, which is very welcome, so please keep it going. Not unsurprisingly we have a backlog, so please bear with us as we address these alongside all the other aspects of our ever demanding project.
We plan to launch an online forum for your shared comments which is timed to coincide with the delivery of GravityLights to pledgees in the first regions later in December.
Once again, thank you so much for your continued support and patience.
Apologies for the time that has passed since our last update, but we are excited to say that we have great news to share!
Jim has recently returned home from a critical visit to the factory in China. This was timed to coincide with assembly of the very first GravityLights. We’re delighted to report that the production line is now in full swing. So here we go!
The photos taken on the first day of the visit show the line in the midst of preparations. The process has now been refined, and the rate of assembly is increasing all the time. Every GravityLight is quality tested, and it's performance logged. As it's essential that we get the most complete data possible from the trial, we are testing 100% of the products being made.
To meet our first commitment, the initial production units will be sent to our trial facilitators.
This is nearing completion, and the factory is moving on to assemble the remaining larger volume of GravityLights for all our Indiegogo campaign contributors who pledged for a light.
We want to thank you for your patience in waiting to see GravityLight complete its journey from fully working prototype into an improved, ruggedised and manufactured product. We are not yet at the finish line, but we are relieved to share the news that this huge milestone has been reached! We will keep you updated regarding assembly progress and dispatch dates to pledgees.
Along with each GravityLight the trial facilitators receive, we are also including a GravityLight accessory called SatLight. The SatLight is a fantastic ‘plugin’ addition to the GravityLight unit and is the first peripheral we have developed for the GravityLight, with your support. We have taken photographs (below) to show you how the SatLights look, how they can be used to distribute the light around a room and also positioned for direct task lighting. The effect is even better than we had hoped for and we are looking forward to the user feedback on the SatLights from the trial.
Simple and effective cardboard packaging has also been
developed for both products.
Our partners on the ground will help us to evaluate,
independently, the user's experience of the products, the efficiency of
GravityLight in different environments, the social impact, and the future
market demand. We are expecting these results before Christmas. We will be
posting updates on www.deciwatt.org. So please stay
Once again, a huge thanks for your support.
The Deciwatt Team
We are excited to be able to confirm that Coleman, the world's leading camping & outdoor gear manufacturer of tents, lanterns, coolers, stoves, sleeping bags & more, have generously stepped in at the last minute to provide the bags for GravityLight’s first production run.
In our last update we mentioned that a previous supplier, who has kindly helped improve our bag design, was no longer able to make the bags for our trial units.
Thankfully Coleman have rapidly turned around a production plan for thousands of bags robust enough to hold the weight needed to power GravityLight. They have also generously offered to provide these pro-bono, in support of GravityLight’s global trial. Thank you Luke & co.!
This significantly helps firm up our timeline. Assuming no glitches, GravityLights will be shipped out to trial facilitators in the second week of October and to Indiegogo supporters at the end of October.
We're pleased to report a great deal of progress following successful meetings with our prototype manufacturers in China last week.
Martin & Jim have returned to London with a small number of samples from first-off plastic mouldings. We’re naturally relieved that these units worked, albeit with some manual fine-tuning needed. GravityLight comprises 40+ parts, sourced from various suppliers so the odds of a first time functional build and test were slight. So a terrific start to a week of production engineering trouble-shooting.
Further CAD changes have since been made to address the few areas of concern and this data is presently being used to make modifications to the tooling. The factory are working quickly on this and we expect new samples for further evaluation in the first week of September. All being well, these samples will work first time - we will keep you posted!
For those who are interested in the machinations of supply… we’ve had springs made and delivered to the wrong spec, straps a month late (and made by hand rather than by machine!), and regrettably our trusted bag supplier fell at the last hurdle due to more pressing manufacturing issues within their business. It is a relief to say that an alternative supplier is stepping in to support the prototype run.
So you can see that we’re close to trial but cannot be more precise on timing. Based on our present status we expect production across September and to start shipping out the GravityLights at the end of September.
NB. On our website you can have a look at the video of the injection moulding process http://deciwatt.org/2013/08/28/first-samples-arrived/ as well as a development status bar that we’re updating as we progress.
As our GravityLight trial nears - the core purpose of our Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign - we wanted to share more details about how we plan to test and gather invaluable feedback on GravityLight across September– November.
Your incredible generosity has enabled us to develop an even better design than our original prototype and has helped spread the word globally. As a result we have had a large number of people and organisations contacting us to see how they can be involved or help. Thank you!
A range of inspiring NGOs, charities, individuals, entrepreneurial networks and social enterprises across 26 different countries have kindly offered their time and resources to trial GravityLight across several weeks. They’ll be visiting the users at least twice – the first visit to gather information about who the trialists are, their current light sources as well as to talk them through how GravityLight works and how to set it up. On return visits several weeks later they’ll find out how the users got on with GravityLight and ask questions tailored to the different groups of people trialling GravityLight: 1) individuals/households 2) Schools & Hospitals 3) Refugee & IDP Camps 4) Local Entrepreneurs.
(For more detail on the types of questions we’ll be asking and examples of our trial facilitators please have a look at the table in our latest ‘Development Journal’ post http://deciwatt.net/the-journal/).
This trial will be invaluable for us to understand the scale of demand for GravityLight as well as whether any design tweaks or additional features are needed before we look to ramp up production in 2014. Equally importantly we will get feedback from and make connections with local entrepreneurs and organisations who will be critical to future sales and distribution of GravityLight in both urban and rural settings.
In addition to these >1000 triallists we are also sending over 5000 lights those of you who pledged in return for a GravityLight. We hope you will also feedback on how you are using your GravityLight, how well it performs in the different situations you put it in and any suggestions for future features or accessories. Please do share your photos and stories with us by sending them to email@example.com.
Over the course of the trials we look forward to sharing more information about GravityLight’s different trial facilitators as well as the insights, stories and photos they record from the different user groups.