Alice Min Soo Chun is a lady pushed by way of a zeal for doing excellent and serving to save the planet with cutting edge merchandise she invented powered with sustainable lights era.

Chun is a former college professor who taught structure and fabrics era at MIT, Columbia, College of Pennsylvania, and Yale. She labored along with her scholars to construct and take a look at prototypes for the most efficient results relating to fabrics’ capability, look, and sturdiness. The end result used to be the founding of Solight Design and the discovery of the SolarPuff Mild and similar merchandise.

Because the outdated announcing is going: Necessity is the mum of invention. This mom took that adage to middle as she struggled along with her younger son’s bronchial asthma.

Her son’s state of affairs, plus seeing a homeless mom and her circle of relatives getting heat and light from a kerosene hearth on the finish of a town alleyway, impressed her to expand a packable, inflatable, and floatable photo voltaic lantern to cut back breathable air pollution.

In the midst of the alley used to be a jug stuffed with kerosene with a large, thick rope popping out of the container they’d lit with hearth. Alice knew she needed to do one thing as she idea concerning the youngsters respiring the extraordinarily damaging chemical compounds and toxins within the smoke day-to-day.

“Solight is far more than being about an object or product. It’s about developing alternate,” mentioned Chun.

The ones reports made her understand that well being, the surroundings, and poverty are connected inextricably in a profound means. She thought of how one easy answer like Solight may just “take on all 3.”

Alice Chun stepped out of her function as a college professor to concentrate on growing cutting edge transportable solar power era to learn the sector’s needy and enhance their high quality of existence.


Entrepreneurial Demanding situations

As a fledgling feminine entrepreneur and product developer, Chun confronted extra hindrances in beginning her industry than she will be able to recount. Her hobby for doing excellent and serving to the ones troubled by way of herbal failures stored her running on her targets.

“For somebody that wishes to turn out to be an entrepreneur, I feel the very first thing that it’s important to do is actually consider how you’ll lend a hand folks and the way you’ll remedy issues that may make existence higher,” introduced Chun.

Inventors and marketers should actually love what they’re doing as a result of it’s so exhausting, she persevered. It’s so aggressive and comes to a surprisingly super quantity of labor.

“You actually need to imagine in what you’re doing. Differently, you’re simply going to surrender,” Chun mentioned.

Sun Answers To Battle Air pollution

Seeing such a lot of children with bronchial asthma, which is so much upper proportion these days than when she used to be a child, Chun researched the situation and realized that the air pollution in city settings comes from power intake and development, developing 75% of the pollution within the air.

She realized that it’s too early in our human gene pool to switch susceptibility unexpectedly. So, Chun started to concentrate on solar power so as to cope with the environmental situation.

The inventor began stitching photo voltaic panels to several types of materials as a result of technological inventions produced lighter and more potent fabrics. She used to be growing this idea when the Haiti earthquake happened in 2010.

Herbal failures taking place extra ceaselessly, akin to flooding from Storm Katrina, the tsunami strike in Japan, after which the Haiti earthquake, fed her need to discover a method to the darkness brought about by way of the loss of electrical energy. The ones occasions induced Chun to do one thing to lend a hand.

Extra not too long ago, Solight partnered with the non-profit group Florida Emerging to ship Solights to sufferers within the wake of Storm Ian, which devastated the Sunshine State after making landfall on Sept. 28.

By no means-Finishing Trying out Grounds

Chun and her Solight backers were actively serious about a lot of international failures. Her humanitarian efforts proceed with photo voltaic lights for refugees trapped in the course of the Russian incursion and battle in Ukraine. The ones international occasions come with failures in Senegal, Mozambique, Puerto Rico, Senegal, and 16 different places.

“I became my studio at Columbia College into an innovation studio to lend a hand Haiti. This is after we learned that Haiti used to be a microcosm of what used to be taking place globally in areas the place there is not any electrical energy.

“With 2.6 billion folks on the earth residing with out get entry to to electrical energy, they use kerosene to gentle their international at evening, which is a dangerous poisonous gas,” Chun informed TechNewsWorld.

Burning kerosene reasons two million adolescence deaths every year from bronchial asthma, respiration problems, and breathing in poisonous smoke. In Haiti, the place there’s excessive poverty, and folks live to tell the tale $3 an afternoon, they spend as much as 30% in their source of revenue on kerosene, she defined.

“In order that used to be the instant I began to turn out to be a social entrepreneur. They may lower your expenses spent purchasing kerosene for lights and as a substitute purchase their youngsters meals and pay for different wishes,” she mentioned.

Chun researched each photo voltaic gentle product available on the market. They have been all giant, cumbersome, heavy, and unsightly. So, she tapped into her personal adolescence reports doing origami. That contributed to her inventing the photo voltaic backpack. She spent 5 years box checking out it at the central plateau in Haiti with girls farmers.

Kickstarter Good fortune

That used to be the start of Chun’s adventure with solar energy and the advance of her Solight product. Due to a Kickstarter program in 2015, she raised part 1,000,000 bucks in 30 days.

At the moment, the Nepal earthquake took place, and as a part of her marketing campaign, she amplified the investment objective to incorporate a buy-one-give-one-to-Nepal that used to be an amazing good fortune in serving to sufferers there.

“We had volunteers that have been on their method to Nepal. We lit up little villages at the hillside with gentle. It used to be one thing that we proceed to do even now. We now have despatched gentle to Ukraine refugees, and we’ve got a volunteer in Peru,” she introduced.

The litany of sustainable lights is spectacular, together with a church crew in Puerto Rico, the place Chun’s corporate supplied lights help right through and after Storm Maria within the type of lights kits to 1000’s of folks with out electrical energy.

“There are such a large amount of other makes use of for Solight. Our philosophy is that simply doing one small factor could make an enormous affect if all of us paintings in combination to create alternate,” introduced Chun.

Sun Lantern

Solight is a photo voltaic rechargeable cellular LED gentle supply powered by way of cutting edge photo voltaic era. The lights designs resemble light-weight, foldable origami lanterns that mimic the Eastern artwork shape and are self-inflating. Relying at the product, solar power will also be saved for longer-term use with an integrated solar-rechargeable energy pack.

An ordinary rechargeable photo voltaic lantern takes 8 hours of daylight to closing via 8 nighttimes. The brightness output varies with the product and levels from 40 to 600 lumens. The high-tech water-proof material is engineered for excessive climate and flow, they usually fold flat and simply trip anyplace.

A part of Chun’s hobby for the Solight idea helps to heal the surroundings. In keeping with Chun, the usage of the light-weight and cost-efficient Solight era for one hour an afternoon as a substitute of tapping into {the electrical} grid to run a gentle bulb can save 90 kilos of carbon emissions a yr.

Extra R & D

Chun’s present product line supplies an answer for reasonably priced and sustainable off-grid lights answers for people. However she isn’t preventing there, as new merchandise are within the analysis and building segment.

Within the works are prototypes that care for making use of the Solight era to packages akin to telephone charging functions.

The pandemic gave upward thrust to any other invention, clear facial mask. Surgical face mask product of polypropylene, a plastic that leaches toxins into landfills and the sea, are used globally. Billions of those mask get thrown away every yr.

“This is sort of a ticking time bomb ecologically for the planet. We now have already noticed what is going on as a detriment to the planet as a result of all of the waste of those polypropylene mask,” Chun warned.

Her answer is a clear, non-toxic silicone face masks with filters.

Alice Chun wearing transparent face mask

Alice Chun fashions a prototype of a biodegradable clear face masks with integrated filters she is growing.


The objective isn’t just to get rid of the poisonous waste piling up from pandemic-era face mask. She additionally desires to rid the wear that face coverings motive youngsters of their early life and lend a hand folks with listening to loss who can now not learn lips to keep in touch.

“As a result of we have been all dressed in mask right through the pandemic, there used to be a lengthen in language building in youngsters as a result of they may now not see facial expressions, they usually may just now not learn lips. That they had a more difficult time studying language. So, the theory of facial transparency is one thing to lend a hand the longer term,” noticed Chun.

She added that Silicone is recyclable. It has no BPA and is reusable, and the filters are cellulose biodegradable with 95% filtration efficacy.

Credit score: The photographs on this tale are courtesy of Solight Design.

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