Article Lead Image

SPARK is a musical instrument that brings electricity to places with none

Shake, shake, shake! 


Mike Wehner


Posted on Jun 27, 2014   Updated on May 31, 2021, 1:25 am CDT

In many developing countries, power is at a premium. The lack of adequate infrastructure in countries like Kenya makes it nearly  impossible to perform basic activities like reading indoors or at night. SPARK, a power-generating musical instrument currently looking for Kickstarter funding, hopes to bring clean, free electricity to people in areas where it simply isn’t available.

The grapefruit-sized shaker device is fairly simple in construction, with two plastic halves housing a simple magnetic current generator, rechargeable storage battery, and some noise-making beads. When the instrument is shaken, the battery is charged and the power can be used via an external USB port capable of charging a phone or giving life to an LED light source.

But it’s not just about getting these gadgets to people who could really use them, it’s also about providing a unique learning opportunity to children in Kenya, and potentially other countries as well. In addition to pre-built shakers, there will be SPARK kits which include all the bits and pieces to construct the instrument. These kits will be distributed to schools and other organizations where kids can, quite literally, build their own power source.

The Kickstarter campaign, which is about halfway to its goal of £50,000 (or $85,108.50), will provide enough funding to get 1,000 manufactured and distributed, and do additional development on the SPARK educational kits.

SPARK is the brainchild of Sudha Kheterpal, a musician who has worked with the likes of The Spice Girls and Dido, along with her current band, Faithless. Along with her project team, Kheterpal is targeting March 2015 as the initial distribution window for the SPARK gadget, though it still needs to finish up its funding before that becomes a reality. 

Image via SPARK/Kickstarter

Share this article
*First Published: Jun 27, 2014, 2:54 pm CDT