Green Oops: The Gravia Lamp

Green Oops: The Gravia Lamp

Jonathan B.
Apr 28, 2008

We flubbed! In a post last Thursday, we mentioned the Gravia lamp. As more than one reader pointed out, it is physically impossible for the award-winning design to generate as much light as originally claimed.

Sigh. According to our rusty recollection of physics, the calculations -- we geeked out reading the long thread over at Slashdot -- seem to be correct.


As for your reaction? It was well represented by the following quote from reader minimalia. For us, it brought to mind a chapter from history:

...giving things like the Gravia awards & all manner of blog coverage does the design & ecology fields a disservice. It makes us look like illiterate daydreaming twits who have no idea what it takes to make real solutions to real problems.

Towards the end of World War II, when it became clear that the Allies were about to win the war and manufacturers would have to shift to making consumer products, advertisements and articles in the mainstream press ridiculed architects for dreaming up impossible visions of the future; ads showed things people thought to be impossible or silly, such as boxy prefabricated houses with a helicopter parked on the roof, and encouraged active "planning" rather than idle "dreaming" about the future.


One architect tried to integrate these two extremes by explaining that the fantastic images were merely for inspiration, and perhaps that's how we best think of the Gravia lamp. However, rather than a interesting, cool idea, it was presented as a patent-pending prototype, about to go into production. One thing's for sure: the 2009 Greener Gadgets competition will have some manner of mechanical engineer or physicist on the jury!


image via Greener Gadgets website

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