Patent of the month August
Lion Lights – contribution to peaceful coexistence between humans and big cats
On 4th July 2023, the European Inventor Award was presented. With this award, the European Patent Office (EPO) annually recognises outstanding innovations from industry, research and SMEs. From 2022, the prestigious prize is awarded to young people in the new category "Young Inventors Prize" to promote creative ideas that contribute to the realisation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
This year's winner in this category is 22-year-old Kenyan Richard Turere. His invention "System and method for deterring trespass by wildlife", which was registered as a national utility model KE U/2013/000344 in 2013, embodies an automatic light system that keeps lions away from cattle enclosures and thus protects livestock. At the same time, the idea contributes significantly to protect lion populations and is therefore - astrologically fitting to the season of the zodiac sign Leo - our Patent of the Month of August!
Richard Turere, who was born in a rural Maasai community, learned as a child while herding cattle about the problems that villagers faced when it came to protecting their flocks from predators at night. Traditional deterrence methods such as using fire and torches proved insufficient to protect livestock. However, they often resulted in predators being killed by humans. This led to an endless circle of conflict with both sides losing out: on the one hand, farmers threatened by declining livestock; on the other, the sad loss of 43% of Africa's lion population - with a significant impact on tourism.
Based on the observation that lions react to human proximity in combination with moving light (e.g. torches) by retreating, Turere developed "Lion Lights" - a light box system of flashing LEDs and motion sensors positioned around the enclosures. The lights are programmed to switch on and off at irregular intervals. The erratic flashing simulates human movement and discourages the lions from approaching the cattle herds. In a further development, he programmed irregular light sequences with complicated patterns that the clever predatory cats could not learn. The result was impressive: since the introduction of the "Lion Lights", the communities recorded a significant decrease in cattle losses due to predators.
The innovative flashing light system is now being used in Africa, Asia and South America to protect farm animals and protect wildlife populations at the same time. It is powered by solar or wind energy and is therefore cost-effective. Turere thus contributes verifiably to the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goal "Life on Land", which addresses the protection, restoration and promotion of the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems. In 2013, the young inventor founded his company "Lion Lights". He became an inspiring figure in the field of social innovation and environmental protection and was honoured with scholarships and numerous awards for his achievements in protecting African wildlife. In 2022, he released his success story "Lion Lights: My Invention That Made Peace with Lions", aiming to inspire young people to tackle problems creatively.
The Patent and Standards Centre congratulates all finalists of the „Young Inventors Prize“ 2023 and wishes them continued success!
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