Cal Poly electrical engineering professor, Taufik, and his student, Owen Jong, said they have created a device that could one day provide light to more than 1.6 billion people living far off the grid.
It is called the “Multiple Input Single Output DC-DC Converter with Equal Load Sharing on Multiple Inputs” or MISO for short. It connects multiple low-power energy sources into one bigger source.
“MISO allows any type of low-power energy device, solar, wind, water in a stream, even human-powered generators like a bicycle, to be connected to one house,” Taufik said. “It’s collecting multiple little sources of energy into one bigger source. In the developing world, a little electricity goes a long way. Just keeping a light on at night is huge.”
MISO will be patented by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in the fall.
The device is very small, it can be held in one hand and costs between $50 and $80.
Taufik said he hopes he can market the product to companies that deal with electrification in developing countries or even rural areas of the U.S. where people want to live off the grid.