Wysips, a french-based tech firm, believes such a cell phone may arrive in the not-so-distant future, partly because the company has developed a transparent coating for LED screens that soaks up energy from a light source and converts it into usable electricity. A smart cell phone endowed with the solar powered technology can be recharged in about six hours if left in direct sunlight. And even if you still don’t think it would be very practical to leave a cell phone baking in UV rays or next to a window, the cell phone can also be recharged using indoor lighting, a slower process that will obviously require more patience.
The advantages of a solar powered smart cell phone can be the illuminating. Instead of having to hunt for an outlet and then feeling tethered to a specific spot, users would able to charge the phone simply by letting it sit on a desk in a sufficiently well lit as most offices. This also opens the door to the integration of more powerful processors since most smart cell phone designs are currently designed to get users through the day by conserving power.
The solar powered technology that makes all this possible relies on photovoltaic cells, which can be thought of as miniaturized solar cells. Ultra-thin strips of the solar cells are applied on the surface of a display screen followed by a separate layer of cylindrical lenticular lenses that sits right on top. This method not only allows solar energy to be collected by the solar cells, but also lets back-lighting from the LED display to pass through to the user’s eyes without any distortion.
The technology still needs to be refined a bit before manufacturers can feel confident enough to integrate it into smartphones, tablets and electronic readers. The company hopes to build a prototype by next year that provides about a half hour of talk time after one hour of charging.