The new lamp follows the same basic design as the Lumir C, which the company launched back in 2016. That older lamp was powered by a single candle, which would heat up sensors inside the lantern and, through the thermoelectric effect, quickly light up LEDs on the outside.
The Lumir K does mostly the same thing, but instead of a candle it runs off cooking oil. That oil is poured into a small canister with a wick, which is then lit to heat up the sensors and turn on the lamp. It can be dimmed by blowing on the top.
Giving off 96.79 lumens, the LEDs on the Lumir K are almost 100 times brighter than a candle, or more than four times brighter than a kerosene lamp. On the fuel front, the company says that just 5 ml of cooking oil can provide light for an hour. And apparently it's not a picky eater either – the device will work just fine with canola, olive, sunflower, or whatever kind of cooking oil is on hand.
The Lumir K sounds like it would have plenty of advantages over other lamps. Cooking oil is very cheap and easy to come by, even in developing areas, and with no battery the lantern doesn't need recharging. It's not dependent on the weather like solar devices. It's also designed to pack up small for storage and transport, and Lumir says the device will keep running for 10 years.
As useful as the Lumir K sounds for campers, the company seems to be aiming for more philanthropic uses too. Backers of the Indiegogo campaign can not only pledge to buy the lamps for themselves but opt to donate some to countries in need.
The Indiegogo campaign kicks off today and will run for 45 days, in which time Lumir is hoping to raise a modest US$10,000. Early bird pledges start at $34 for one Lumir K – or one can be donated for a pledge of $29. A pledge of $63 will net both the backer and a person in need one of the lamps, and different combinations go up from there. If all goes to plan, Lumir K will be lighting up by September 2019.