Kickstarter + creative technology to produce clean energy for Kenya

  • SumoMe

We’ve heard that a good band can “light up a stage” or that music is powerful. Thanks to Sudha Kheterpal, music has become a legitimate option as a source for alternative energy with the SPARK percussion shaker.


Just by enjoying a simple jam session, SPARK produces enough clean energy to power a light or charge a mobile phone for communities without electricity. Due to a rechargeable battery inside the SPARK prototype, just 12 minutes of shaking the SPARK will provide an hour of electricity for these uses. The battery also stores power, making it unnecessary to shake for 12 minutes straight. Users could play SPARK for a few minutes in the morning, then again for a few minutes in the afternoon, and the available power will accumulate to store up to 20 hours of electricity.

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How Kickstarter helped

The new technology and aspirations behind SPARK have made it a successful Kickstarter campaign, having raised its goal of 50,000 British pounds within a month’s time. The funds received from the Kickstarter campaign will help create a finished product from the prototype, to manufacture and distribute the product, and to develop and test educational assembly kits. After these stages are complete, the SPARK technology will be first distributed to schools in rural Kenya, which make up about 75% of Kenyan schools. The goal time to complete the research, development, manufacturing, and distribution of SPARK is nine months, with March 2015 as the marker for distribution.

An idea was born

The idea behind SPARK came from Sudha Kheterpal, a percussionist who has played with groups and artists such as Faithless, The Spice Girls, and Dido. Inspired by the thought of harnessing the energy produced on stage, Kheterpal and her team created SPARK as a maraca-like instrument that will store power as its shaken. That power can then be used in communities without electricity. While Kheterpal’s distribution will begin in rural Kenya, her vision is inclusive of any community without electricity to benefit from SPARK’s simple technology.

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Community Impact

The alternative energy SPARK offers has the potential to significantly impact communities that either don’t have access to electricity or can’t afford it. In countries like Kenya, darkness can hinder time to study or do chores; with SPARK, children could not only have fun playing the instrument in school, at home, or while walking to and from, they could also feel safer on their walk with a light and be able to study or do homework after daylight hours. SPARK could also help parents do chores in times of little to no daylight in early morning or late evening. The prototype was tested in Kenya and found to significantly impact communities for these purposes.

SPARK’s Technology

SPARK technology

SPARK works as it’s played with a magnet that moves forwards and backwards through the center of a coil of copper wire. This movement produces a current in the loops of wire and charges up the rechargeable battery each time the magnet slides through. The energy can be stored in the battery until it’s used. While the parts used in SPARK are relatively simple, the new use of this technology is what makes the idea nothing less than innovative. [image]

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With the search for alternative energy sources at a crucial time, technology and philanthropy join forces with the SPARK percussion shaker to make the first step toward offering clean energy to places without power. In an era full of new technology, Sudha Kheterpal proves that change can happen when you keep your brain working and your heart open.

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About Author

Bridget is President of The Get Smart Web Consulting Group, a web presence and digital strategy firm with offices in San Diego County California and Collier County Florida. But more importantly she is a web, tech, and Twitter addict!