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This robot can automatically fill any room with sunlight

Lightbulb moments don’t come often – and even less often do they come literally. But for Dr Diva Tommei, one good idea was enough to light up her whole room.

Quite literally.

It all started for Dr Tommei in a gloomy office at Cambridge University. Frustrated with the lack of lighting in her dank workspace Tommei, a bioinformatics PhD student, invented a device that reflected natural light from outside through the window to illuminate her room.

Completely bypassing the need for electric wiring and artificial light, Tommei’s invention, which she called Lucy (Techly previously covered it), became so much more than she ever imagined.

After moving back to Rome and attempting to design better, more efficient versions of the Lucy, Tommei met her co-founder, Mattia.

After raising almost $AUD 700,000 in an Indiegogo campaign for a variant of Lucy dubbed Caia, Dr Tommei’s 12-person team is preparing the device for commercial sale.

Essentially a type of heliostat, the device looks like a large crystal ball. A sensor in the ‘nose’ tracks the sun, and a series of motors redirect mirrors inside to reflect light through a window the user designates.

Light intensity output is monitored by an algorithm that ensures optimal efficiency and maintains the perfect angle of reflection as the sun moves across the sky, providing enough light to match the power of almost 12 lightbulbs.

Better yet, Caia works completely off the same solar power she redirects, meaning that she has serious potential to both decrease the energy bills of consumers, as well as providing a greener alternative to traditional indoor lighting during the day.

Tommei estimates the current version of Caia will retail for just under $250, but they’re aiming to reduce the robot to the bare minimum of components and cost.

Over 1.2 billion people worldwide have no access to electricity, and Caia may provide for them a viable, environmentally friendly solution to indoor lighting, while simultaneously decreasing the Earth’s total carbon footprint.

And if that doesn’t light up your day, we’re not sure what will.

About the author

Karl is the physical embodiment of an alternate universe where Kurt Cobain played for Hanson, instead of Nirvana. When he’s not furiously bashing a keyboard and howling in pain, he can probably be found mumbling into a microphone somewhere, or up in the gym working on his fitness (with Fergie as his witness)

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