New Delhi: It wants to put out one kerosene lamp at a time, and make India brighter by using an LED, or light emitting diode, light, says d.light design. The company says LED lighting is cheaper and safe.

Representatives from the company, based out of Mountain View, California, are

In the dark: Many rural households still depend on kerosene lamps.

While over 90% of villages have some sort of electrical connection, power does not come all the time, said Ned Tozun, president of d.light design. Hence, many households are forced to fall back on kerosene lamps or candles.

‘We don’t think it’s right that families are using kerosene in 2007," said Tozun, who added that kerosene and candles are polluting, bad for respiration, can cause fires, and often have very dim lighting. “With today’s technology available, it is possible to have safer, better lighting. We want to provide that." The product, called Forever Bright, will have a retail value of about Rs500 and is small enough to hold in your hand, said Tozun.

Uused in modern appliances such as the numbers on digital clocks, images on a television screen, and traffic lights, LEDs are tiny light bulbs that fit into an electrical circuit, but unlike ordinary bulbs, they don’t have a filament or get too hot.

According to Light Up The World, an international humanitarian?organization whose goal is to light up the world’s poor, benefits of LEDs include ultra low power usage, durability and extended lifetime.

According to d.light design CEO Sam Goldman, solar products that provide electricity are available, but cost between $50 and $500. And while cheaper Chinese emergency lanterns are available, they are not of good quality, said Goldman. “In the next couple of months, we want to pilot our product with partners who will be able to reach underserved families in India."

The for-profit company was formed a year-and-a-half ago, after Tozun and a few colleagues took the “Entrepreneurial Design for Extreme Affordability," class at Stanford University’s design school. They learnt to design for folks who earn a dollar or two a day.

“We decided to take the next year to decide what these needs are…We’re at the point where we’re seeing the products meeting customers’ demand, said Tozun, who graduated from Stanford’s business school nine months ago.

The team is visiting states including Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, meeting with companies and showing Forever Bright to villagers and asking them to test it out.