Smartphones are too smart for their own good. Users have come to rely on them so much that they constantly need recharging. The batteries just can’t keep up with the usage. One French company, The Sun Partner Group, located in Aix-en-Provence, has come up with a solution. As seen in the illustration below the company is combining narrow strips of thin-film opaque solar cells with alternating strips of transparent film and then harvesting the light energy by concentrating it using a layer of tiny lenses. The result is an almost transparent surface that lies on top of a smartphone screen providing energy to the phone from light sources while not diminishing the quality of the display. They have branded the technology Wysips Crystal.
Wysips crystal prototypes are achieving 82% transparency and 8% energy conversion today with the next release expected to improve to 30% efficiency while providing enough power to a cellphone to increase talk time by 50% or keep it fully charged while on standby throughout the day. With several cell phone manufacturers interested the company expect to have its technology in products starting with releases in 2014. Estimated cost for the technology to the consumer will be an additional $2.30 US over current mobile phone sticker prices.
The technology isn’t just limited to cell phone applications. E-readers and tablets as well as billions of low power outdoor devices could use this type of energy-generating technology. Think billboards, road signs, transit shelters, kiosks, parking meters and more.
Wysips can be incorporated into windows and textiles. Imagine the windows in your car generating enough energy to run air conditioning on a hot day without drawing any power from the motor or the battery.Or equipping a stadium roof with Wysips fabric to provide energy for lighting. And Wysips isn’t limited to outdoor applications. It can be incorporated into indoor devices capturing energy from artificial lighting albeit with less efficiency than if used outdoors .