This New Folding Solar-Powered Light Can Charge Your Phone

From her early days in Seoul, Korea, to her education and career as an architect in upstate New York, Alice Min Soo Chun’s life journey has been intertwined with the art of origami and a passion for sustainable technology. Her inventive spirit led her to create a groundbreaking product: the SolarPuff – a self-inflatable, portable solar light that has not only transformed lives but also helped those in need around the world.

Inspired by her mother’s teachings on origami, Min Soo Chun’s interest in structured design and form found expression during her studies in Architecture at Penn State and her Masters at the University of Pennsylvania. As trends shifted towards more sustainable manufacturing, she delved into integrating solar panels into flexible fabrics, envisioning a future where clean energy could be harnessed with softer, more malleable materials.

But what really sparked her love for solar technology and clean energy was a private incident. Min Soo Chun was resolved to develop solutions to battle air pollution and its harmful impacts on health after learning that her son had asthma. She collaborated with her students while a professor of architecture and material technology at Columbia University to create early solar light prototypes. The terrible earthquake in Haiti, however, was a turning point in her activism against the effects of climate change and its repercussions.

The vision for the SolarPuff was born – a solution to the lighting crisis faced by underprivileged communities relying on kerosene lamps. After 168 prototypes and three years of rigorous field testing in Haiti, Min Soo Chun finally launched the SolarPuff through a successful Kickstarter campaign. The lightweight, inflatable solar light caught the attention of the world and paved the way for Solight Designs’ humanitarian initiatives.

Min Soo Chun’s dedication has since led to the distribution of free SolarPuffs to refugees and disaster-stricken areas in various countries like Peru, Nepal, Puerto Rico, Liberia, and Ukraine. The innovative design, made from recyclable PET sailcloth and free from PVC and toxic materials, has proven to be an essential companion for outdoor adventures, emergency situations, and community gatherings.

In her pursuit of the SolarPuff, Min Soo Chun drew inspiration from the origami balloon, a symbol of structure, form, proportion, and mathematics in Korean culture. The MegaPuff, the latest addition to the Solight lineup, exemplifies her philosophy – an extremely lightweight, room-saving device that illuminates spaces all night, powered solely by the sun’s energy.

With the MegaPuff’s waterproof and long-lasting features, it offers up to 150 hours of light on low settings and continuous illumination with just 8-10 hours of charging under bright sunlight. Eliminating the need for batteries or fuel, this solar-powered wonder embodies Min Soo Chun’s commitment to sustainable technology and a cleaner, brighter future for all.

In conclusion, Alice Min Soo Chun’s journey from a little girl folding origami in Seoul to an accomplished architect and inventor of solar-powered lights serves as an inspiration to us all. Her relentless pursuit of sustainable solutions has not only revolutionized the way we perceive lighting but has also brought hope and assistance to communities in need worldwide. As we embrace her creations, we embrace a brighter and greener tomorrow.

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