An eye-catching invention that produces as much light as a 100-watt incandescent bulb using just an eighth of the power has become a crowdfunding star for three University of Toronto graduates.
The Nanolight, billed as "the world's most energy-efficient light bulb" has raised $133,022 on the U.S. crowdfunding site Kickstarter and generated pre-orders for more than 3,000 bulbs since the project started seeking backers on Jan. 7.
The project had originally hoped to raise $20,000.
"It's been incredible for us," said Gimmy Chu, product developer for Nanolight, the company he founded with Tom Rodinger and Christian Yan, two former teammates on the University of Toronto solar car project whom he met in 2005.
"What's next is to set up manufacturing lines so we can actually start producing for all our backers."
People who have pledged $30 or more to the project on Kickstarter can expect to be among the first to get one of three versions of the Nanolight shipped directly to them for free anywhere in the world:
- 10 watts, equivalent to a 75-watt incandescent bulb.
- 12 watts, equivalent to a 100-watt incandescent bulb.
- An even brighter 12-watt bulb, created "using the best components available without any regard for price."
"To get that kind of efficiency, we had to redesign the whole idea of an LED light bulb from the ground up," recalls Chu, who began working on the project with Rodinger and Yan about three years ago.
Their design consists of a circuit-board with LEDs attached to it, folded up into the shape of a light bulb that plugs into a regular lighting fixture.
"That way it kind of mimics the traditional incandescent light bulb in that it shines light in all directions," Chu said.
According to the Nanolight team, there are currently very few LED lighting products on the market as bright as a 100-watt incandescent bulb. The Nanolight is almost half as heavy as a compact fluorescent light bulb, and unlike fluorescent bulbs, it turns on instantly.
Potential customers will have the opportunity to pre-order the Nanolight on Kickstarter until March 8.
The Nanolight team is currently working on other light bulb models, including one that is dimmable.