Let There Be Light: Balb

In the second in a series of “dumb/fantastic ideas I have at work around 3am”, a thing which had a friend who edits at The Engineer tell me “check this website and see if there’s a patent”.

Spoilers: I checked the website in question but it was impossible to tell if there was already a patent for something like this because the search function is not great and I have no idea what search terms to use to make it spit out a reasonable reply.

What have you done this time?

Look, it’s very simple.

You know lightbulbs, right?

Yes, we’re not stupid

Okay. And you know torches, right?

Again, not stupid

Well, I think I’ve come up with something that is both, and also means that you only really need one or two lightbulbs in a house.


Bear with me. What I want is a rechargeable battery in the centre of a near-total sphere of outward-facing LEDs (full-spectrum if possible), encased in diffusing layer of plastic. Are you with me so far?

For the sake of getting to the end of this quickly, we’ll say I am.

Okay. Attached to the battery you have a switch and a standard lightbulb fitting – a bayonet, or a screw, whichever works with the light sockets you have. Ideally these would be interchangeable but I suspect you might just have to sell two types of “balb”.

Before we go any further, please tell me you’re not calling it that

It’s a bulb that is a ball!

Oh god. Alright, go on.

When you pop the lightbulb fitting into a socket, the light goes on, and the battery charges.

Have you figured out how that works?

I’m not an engineer.

You did an electronics engineering class, this should be simple.

Yes but I only passed that because Charles didn’t want to have to see my ignorant face again. Anyway, when you take the balb out of the socket it switches to the battery, which given that LEDs don’t use much battery, shouldn’t be a problem at any point after the initial charge.

That’s a bit iffy. So: you carry your orb of light from room to room and plunk it into a socket, is that the idea?

Yeah, I was thinking you could have a little net on a keychain to carry it by your side as well or around your neck or–

Do you have any idea how ridiculous that would look?

Hey, wait until you see the branding I came up with.




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