A few years back, D.Light, a startup that began as a Stanford design school project, announced that it had created the world's cheapest solar lantern. For you, with your electric lights, this doesn't seem like a big deal. For everyone who relies on kerosene (and all of its associated fumes) for lighting, it's a life-changer. It's newest offering, the S1, is designed specifically to help students.
Quality is subjective, but we tend to believe the company, which is backed by investors including the Acumen Fund and Draper Fisher Jurvetson. The S1 costs less than $8 and offers up to four hours of LED-based lighting for a day's worth of charging. The device is rugged and, as you can see in the picture, very bright.
So who is going to use this thing? Anyone who needs cheap access to reliable lighting—including students. In one pilot in India, every single one of 275 students surveyed claimed that they studied
regularly with the D.light S1. All of the students reported increased productivity, cleaner air in their homes, and reduced risk of fire (as compared to kerosene).
For many users, the flagship D.light S250 will remain ideal—it combines a solar-powered light and cell-phone charger in one. But for anyone who just needs a light by which to study, they now have a student-friendly option.