Cheap, solar-powered lamp 'most important object of the 21st century'

Washington, Oct 15 (ANI): A cheap solar-powered lamp has joined the list of the most priceless treasures in the British Museum.

It was unveiled as the 100th item in the BBC Radio 4 series, 'A History of the World in 100 Objects', which has charted human civilization from two million years BC to the present day.

The brief was to find "an object that tells the story of the ingenuity and the challenges that shape humanity in the 21st century".

The eclectic shortlist raised eyebrows, not least because it included a Chelsea football shirt, alongside a mobile phone, pestle and mortar and an Antarctic suit.

In the end, the programme-makers bent the rules to include both the lamp and the mobile phone, as the lamp's solar charger can be used to power both.

Neil MacGregor, presenter of the programme and director of the British Museum, said choosing the 100th object was an "impossibly difficult" task.

"There is a mobile phone beside it because in a way we wanted to cheat," the Telegraph quoted MacGregor as saying.

"We wanted to have the solar power for the lamp but also the charger that gives mobile phones to the world. This type of mobile phone, the kind you can buy in any market, in Africa especially, is changing the world for people. They give, for the first time, the poor of the world access to credit."

The lamp costs around 6 pounds, rising to 30 pounds for a kit that includes the charger. They are proving invaluable to the 1.6 billion people in the developing world with no access to electrify. The kit can convert eight hours of sunshine into 100 hours of lamplight.

While solar power is nothing new, this lamp utilises the latest silicon-cell technology.(ANI)

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