Solar Panels in the Screens of Smartphones
I’ve been predicting that these will be A Big Deal for over a year, and have partly included them because I just think they’re really cool. But as with many new technologies, several sets of researchers are currently working to make transparent solar panels better and cheaper, which means that next year could be the year consumers finally get hold of them. Once on the market, they could invisibly collect solar power on phone and computer screens, and even on windows.
Artificial Intelligence still can’t have a totally convincing chat with us, but it’s now sophisticated enough to carry out online customer service, and, as it turns out, be your personal assistant. New app x.ai lets you email “Amy” about a meeting you want to set up, and she liases with you and the other person to find a time that works.
The real limitation of power delivery is due to the fact that the crystals have to be transparent. An opaque panel would provide more power, but then of course, you wouldn’t be able to see the screen.
SunPower is also working on integrating its technology into cases and smart covers for phones and tablets. The company calls this technology Wysips Graphics, because the solar portion isn’t visible, and lets case makers create custom designs, just like with other phone cases and covers.
The solar-powered Kyocera Torque may not make it to market, but de Broca says they’re working to perfect the manufacturing process, and hope to see a solar-screen smartphone or tablet using Wysips Crystals by the end of 2015. He says the company’s solar cases could come as soon as this summer.