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Helio’s solar-powered lantern is brightening the world in more ways than one

Kraig Becker
Helios solar powered lantern

As recent events in Texas and Florida have shown us, you can never be too prepared when it comes to natural disasters. That includes having a good source of light and portable power to help see you through the days following such an event. To that end, a new device that just launched on Kickstarter could prove invaluable, serving as a solar powered lantern, flashlight, and a USB battery pack. Best of all, when you buy one, you’re giving the gift of light and power to others, too.

Called Helio, the device was designed by a team called Makers4Good and true to its name, the group is doing something special with this project. According to the Kickstarter page, all profits made from the lantern will be donated to nonprofit organizations that are bringing solar light and power to those living in regions without reliable sources of energy. Those organizations include the Global Brightlight Foundation, Lalafofofo, and One Million Lights.

Helio has a number of interesting features that make it well suited not only for use around the house, but at the campsite as well. It is equipped with a built-in 1-watt solar panel that provides a steady stream of power to its internal 5,200mAh battery. In fact, the designers of the lantern claim that the solar panel is efficient enough to fully recharge the battery directly with two days of exposure to the sun. Simply set it out in the open and let it collect energy.

When fully charged, the battery can power the lantern or flashlight for up to 700 hours on its lowest setting or as much as 15 hours at its highest, which tops out at 150 lumens. The device is equipped with a USB port that allows it to recharge a smartphone, digital camera, headlamp, or other small gadget. The Helio even has a red light mode that requires so little energy from the battery that it can run continuously with just the power it collects from the sun each day. This mode is handy for protecting night vision and for working in dark conditions.

Helios solar powered lantern

Makers4Good is looking to raise $10,000 to get the Helio lantern into production. If successful, it will begin shipping in December 2017 for $99. Early bird supporters can pre-order one now for as low as $45, nabbing themselves a versatile light source while doing a little good for the world at the same time.