Nanolight created by 3 University of Toronto graduates

An eye-catching invention that produces as much light as a 100-watt incandescent bulb using just an eighth of the power has become a crowdfunding star for three University of Toronto graduates.

The Nanolight, billed as “the world’s most energy-efficient light bulb” has raised $133,022 on the U.S. crowdfunding site Kickstarter and generated pre-orders for more than 3,000 bulbs since the project started seeking backers on Jan. 7.

ledAt about 200 per cent more efficiency than the current wave of energy-saving LED technology, the Nanolight doesn’t even look like a regular bulb. But Gimmy Chu, one of the inventors, says that’s partly why it works so well.

It’s made by folding up a super-efficient circuit board dotted with LED bulbs. The 10- or 12-watt bulbs (which cost $30 and $45, respectively) pump out the equivalent of 75 or 100 watts, emit less heat than the competitors and, Chu says, pay for themselves over their lifespan—about 20 years at three hours per day.

“To get that kind of efficiency, we had to redesign the whole idea of an LED light bulb from the ground up,” recalls Chu, who began working on the project with Rodinger and Yan about three years ago.

Circuit-board origami

Their design consists of a circuit-board with LEDs attached to it, folded up into the shape of a light bulb that plugs into a regular lighting fixture.

“That way it kind of mimics the traditional incandescent light bulb in that it shines light in all directions,” Chu said.

According to the Nanolight team, there are currently very few LED lighting products on the market as bright as a 100-watt incandescent bulb. The Nanolight is almost half as heavy as a compact fluorescent light bulb, and unlike fluorescent bulbs, it turns on instantly.