All of us have come across that moment when we are stepping out of home with that fancy mobile we own only to realize that we forgot to charge it. All the features of the world in the palm of our hand yet they can’t make a decent device, powerful enough to last a day!
This simple problem statement led to a birth of a startup called Lumos. Based in Bangalore, Lumos is a startup by Gandharv Bakshi and Lavina Mahbubani, who launched their product at UnPluggd held in December, 2012. Gandharv is an alumnus of IIT Madras/IIM Bangalore and is the tech half of the company whereas Lavina has graduated from National Institute of Fashion Technology and is the creative and the design element of the company.
Lumos came up with an interesting approach to the challenge of their problem of devices which constantly need battery re-charge. Conventional wisdom supports carrying the charger or a spare battery pack to provide that much needed power juice. Lumos came up with a solution of adding a solar panel to the carrying bag itself.
The way the idea works is that a flexible solar panel is a permanent addition to the bag they have designed. The bags now serve the dual functionality as a medium of carrying things and a charging outlet. The bag has a port to which devices (currently handheld devices smaller than a tablet) can be plugged into.
Instead of charging the device only when solar panel is in direct presence of sunlight, the Lumos solar bag itself has a small battery pack which can store the charge from the solar panel. The device can generate electricity even in presence of indirect sources like the light from a room or one could even store charge in the battery pack by connecting it with AC supply before leaving.
Now, this is in no way a new solution. Solutions already exist in the market whereby solar panels are a part of the bag design. But the area where Lumos wants to score brownie points is in the ergonomics and the comfort of their bags along with the technology they are using to enable the solar bag. The bags are undergoing field testing and the cycling community in Bangalore is helping them do it. They are taking inputs from the actual users and are tweaking the product before the mid-February launch of the device.
They are also prototyping and trying out the other variants of their product. Users can expect Lumos to announce an upgraded back pack sometime later which can power laptop and tablets. The team has an interesting prototype in their R&D stage, the solar venetian blinds. These blinds help people keep out the sunlight but the solar panel helps generate electricity enough to power a single socket or light bulb.
Though they are yet to announce pricing, the startup will sell all their products on their website. The startup is self-funded with money raised from family and friends. They are currently helping develop one of a kind R&D center catering to wearable electronics and it will be a mixture of designers, engineers and researchers. It will be quite interesting to see how far ahead they go and how they price the products developed by them.
Watch the launch video of Lumos @UnPluggd.