SPARK, a prototype percussion shaker has been developed and introduced to rural children in Kenya producing an hour of power when shaken for 12 minutes. Sudha Kheterpal, former percussionist with the music band, Faithless created the shaker to provide light for children to read, to do school work and to charge mobile phones.

“I hope to encourage maximum take-up by developing an assembly kit, so children can build their own shaker,” said Kheterpal. “In the long-term, I’d like to reach children learning about kinetic and renewable energy in Africa, India and Brazil.” she continued.

Gaining sufficient investment is critical for the development and the long-term sustainability of the project in, catering to the needs of the end-users and protecting the environment at the same time.

Anne Wheldon, renewable energy expert and Ashden adviser says: “Shaking a musical instrument may be fun and engaging initially, but its success will ultimately be determined by whether children want to use it for the long-term. It must also be simple and cost-effective to distribute and repair, and commercially viable for the manufacturer to offer warranties”.

As to how the shaker works, Sudha Kheterpal told the Guardian: “SPARK is powered by kinetic energy. A magnet moves backwards and forwards through the centre of a solenoid, a coil of copper wire. A current is induced in the loops of wire and each time the magnet slides through, it charges up a rechargeable battery. We are currently looking at adding other harnessing techniques to get the maximum energy for the minimum shake”

Wim Jonker Klunne, senior renewable energy researcher at the CSIR said: “The percussion shaker may prove of more interest from an educational perspective,” says Klunne. “It’s great to help children understand how energy is generated, and show them that small amounts of energy can bring big improvements to life.”

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