Solar-charging screen could augment your phone’s battery life

June 14, 2013
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Android-battery

From quad-core processors to 1080p displays, today’s mobile devices are very powerful and seem to push innovation into just about every aspect.

Unfortunately, one area that seems to be somewhat ignored is battery life. While many of today’s devices can endure a fully day’s use on a single charge, they do so because they have massive batteries, not because we’ve somehow come up with a better way to keep our devices charged for longer. Sure, we can optimize hardware and create software that can tune down settings to lengthen battery life, but that’s about it.

We are constantly being promised innovative battery technologies that will “change everything”, except they never seem to leap beyond the realm of testing or theory. So instead of pushing some new battery tech, why not a new screen tech that could extend the life of your phone in between charges? A small French startup called SunPartner Group hopes to push out a new transparent panel that could essentially allow your screen to give your phone an extra boost of energy, using the power of the sun.

Right now SunPartner is testing the display tech with “a number of manufacturers” and claims it could start arriving in devices early next year. How does it work? The company will uses strips of standard thin-film solar cells alternating with transparent film. From there it adds a layer of tiny lenses that spread the image from the screen so that the opaque stripes aren’t visible.

sunpartner-screen-tech

Apparently the current prototype is 82 percent transparent, though future versions will hit 90 percent. Additionally the cost here is pretty low, adding about $2.30 to the build price of each phone that uses the tech.

The big question is whether the charging technology extends our phone life long enough to make it worth it. SunPartner claims that it will extend battery life by about 20 percent during normal use, provided of course you set it out in areas where it can actually take advantage of the sun’s rays. While 20% isn’t the end of the world, it is still a step forward.

Personally I am a little curious how good it is for a phone to be left directly pointed at the sun’s rays for extended periods – then again, maybe it doesn’t make that much of a difference.

What do you think of the SunPartner Group’s transparent screen insert tech? Is this kind of solar tech something you could see becoming commonplace or is also destined to never reach beyond the testing stages?

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