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Illumination & Displays

A video interview with Dave Irvine-Halliday: Lighting up the developing world

Much of the world depends on kerosene for lighting, heating, and cooking, which is dangerous and polluting. Light up the World is working to bring safe, affordable solid-state lighting to people in 42 countries.

9 September 2008, SPIE Newsroom. DOI: 10.1117/2.3200809.0002

Nearly four billion people in the developing world have the same basic need for safe, healthy, and affordable electric lighting as we in the overdeveloped world.

Light up the World (LUTW) Foundation (founded in 1997) is a not-for-profit organization that uses renewable energy and solid-state lighting to provide safe, efficient illumination in areas without access to power for adequate lighting. LUTW has proven the universal applicability of renewable energy-based SSL technology for people all over the world.

Using a micro credit system, most families can pay for solid-state lighting within one to two years. The lamps and setup cost approximately the same as a year's worth of kerosene. The lamps provide lighting for children to study at night; a fundamental mission of the foundation is to ensure that children will have light in the evening by which to study, helping to ensure a strong education.

SSL is incredibly valuable for those in the developing world, as it helps to create and redistribute wealth and its benefits are immediate, profound, widespread, and permanent! SSL technology also contributes positively to the UN Millennium Development Goals. The lives of billions of people the world over can be radically improved with inexpensive, long-lasting, sustainably powered solid-state lighting.

In this interview for SPIE Newsroom, Professor Dave Irvine-Halliday of the University of Calgary, Canada, discusses his work with LUTW and how engineers can get involved.

Dave Irvine-Halliday was born and educated in Scotland, lived in Australia, settled in Canada, and is LUTW University Professor at the University of Calgary. With a fiber optics and biophotonics background, Irvine-Halliday is a founder of LUTW and has brought SSL to nearly 20,000 homes, schools, and clinics in 42 countries.