Mothers of Invention

01.16.14

LuminAID Brightens In The Darkest Hours

When a class project turns into a product that helps when infrastructure fails

Anna Stark beams when describing LuminAID, an inflatable and rechargeable light source she and fellow architecture classmate Andrea Sreshta invented as a class project. "I think innovation is synonymous with impact," she says, and by her definition, LuminAID has exceeded all expectations.

The lightbulb first went on after the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Stark and Sreshta recognized that most disaster-relief aid focused on providing shelter and food, leaving victims in the dark. They believed that good design and innovative technology could illuminate the victims' darkest hours. They built the first LuminAID prototype in their kitchens, not knowing that a year later, they would have a chance to benefit from their own invention: When an earthquake struck while they were visiting Tokyo, they discovered the profound value of light without power. Experiencing LuminAID's life-altering assistance first-hand gave them the incentive to raise funds for their project.

Stark and Sreshta are being honored as Mothers of Invention by Toyota and Women in the World. Watch below to hear more from Stark and Sreshta on how LuminAID works, and how it is enlightening disaster-relief work.

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