Solar powered cell phone film - Bye, bye big batteries and so long outlets

Mar 25, 2011 by Katie Gatto weblog
Image credit: Engadget

(PhysOrg.com) -- Few things in this world can be more annoying than running out of battery. It seems like your cell phone has made the application of Murphy's Law its raison d'etre. It dies right before you are expecting that important call from a client. It dies the day that your kids are sick. It always seems to die when you have just left the spot that had an easily accessible outlet.

It looks like you are not the only person who has had that experience. Wysips, a French company, has developed a technology to charge your phone without an outlet, or a power mat. It is a . Of course, solar chargers aren't new, but most of them are clunky and external. This one can be built right into the phone. The charger is basically a few layers of a thin and transparent photovoltaic film that can be put on top of a phone's display to let it charge wherever there is light. You may be wondering how thin this film is? The current version is less than 100 microns.

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The prototype version is a little bit rough, but Wysips is currently working with companies that produce mobile displays in order to integrate the thin layers of photovoltaic film into next generation phones. This technology could help to significantly decrease the battery related bulk of smart phone. This reporter, for one, would love to see solar charging film announced as a feature on the next generation of iPhones. No details about when, or on what phones, we can expect to see these charging films in the market.

Explore further: Imec demonstrates organic photovoltaics modules showing excellent optical properties, high efficiencies

More information: www.wysips.com/

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User comments : 22

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MrGrynch
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 25, 2011
Fantastic!
Honor
1.7 / 5 (6) Mar 25, 2011
free energy? no way gona get patented then killed to never be heard from again.
ziprar
not rated yet Mar 25, 2011
"It dies right before you are expecting that important call from a client"

xamien
2 / 5 (2) Mar 25, 2011
free energy? no way gona get patented then killed to never be heard from again.


Bull, the idea was already bouncing around. They'll make it profitable simply to prevent homebrew people from freeing up cash they would otherwise spend on charging-related equipment.
Eikka
4 / 5 (2) Mar 25, 2011
Next you'll tell me how the sun is going to shine into my pocket where my phone spends most of its time.
PinkElephant
4.5 / 5 (2) Mar 25, 2011
Next you'll tell me how the sun is going to shine into my pocket where my phone spends most of its time.
Transparent pockets? Or just go all the way, and make the clothes transparent...
axemaster
1 / 5 (2) Mar 25, 2011
free energy? no way gona get patented then killed to never be heard from again.


How exactly is this free energy? It's just solar power.

And it doesn't really matter if they patent it. I could probably make something like this in my basement, no problem. Just use vapor deposition to make overlapping scales of material layered on top of a polymer. Problem solved.
Moebius
1 / 5 (1) Mar 26, 2011
The problem is that battery operated things like cell phones are not designed to use the least possible amount of power. They are designed to use as much power as possible to achieve a predetermined battery life.

It's the same principle as computer software and processor power (speed), the software requirements always exceed the available processing power.

I have one of the simplest cell phones available. Batteries are better now and the electronics use less power. So now it has 2 LCD's instead of one, the main one and a small one on the outside that is completely unnecessary. Smart phones are even better, bigger LCD's and all kinds of apps so it is used much more than for just making calls. Who needs to use their phone to listen to music or play games or take pictures? All I want a cell phone to do is make calls but try and buy one that does just that.
Mahal_Kita
not rated yet Mar 26, 2011
Well.. A week - or two - ago I read about this same film powering a television set from the ambient light in the room. Or perhaps this is a Physorg April Fools' Day hoax.
mjporter
not rated yet Mar 26, 2011
April Fools' Day hoax? No. Saw the same article elsewhere. Lacking information? Yes. Assuming this *is* the same tech, they don't quite have the optical clarity they need (though it is better and is expected to improve). However, it only delivers a couple of volts. It'll trickle charge the phone when it has a light source, but it sure as hell will not replace the battery.
Pkunk_
2.7 / 5 (3) Mar 26, 2011
free energy? no way gona get patented then killed to never be heard from again.


If so , then why are the other wonderful ideas of "free" energy patented not misused by people who don't care about patents like the Chinese manufacturers ?
The who conspiracy angle here is ridiculous. Nothing is FREE except your opinions.

Eikka
not rated yet Mar 26, 2011
The problem is that battery operated things like cell phones are not designed to use the least possible amount of power. They are designed to use as much power as possible to achieve a predetermined battery life.


I disagree. I get two weeks of standby out of mine. The battery will disintegrate on its own before you can even approach the number of recharge cycles that would hurt it.

It's just that you buy bad cellphones from companies that are in the business of selling c**p to consumers who aren't interested in things like reliability. You want apps and touchscreens instead of telephones.

You buy toys, so you get toys.
Eikka
not rated yet Mar 26, 2011

All I want a cell phone to do is make calls but try and buy one that does just that.


Odd. I can find such phones all the time. Every day there's ads in the papers for cheap simple phones, some cost only 48 and the only "fancy" thing they come with is a bad camera and a voice recorder. No double LCDs, no memory card slots, no angry birds, just a numerical keypad and a screen for text messages.

But I guess you're in the US where the telco dictates what phones you can buy.
LuckyBrandon
not rated yet Mar 26, 2011
its an excellent idea, but i wonder if you can you put a screen protector over the solar film to protect both it and the screen without taking power/charge from the light away? If not, its bound to get scratched, and if it gets scratched, that has to take away from the ability to process light (if its bad enough) im thinking.
droid001
not rated yet Mar 26, 2011
Who needs to use their phone to listen to music or play games or take pictures? All I want a cell phone to do is make calls

Wake up, it's XXI century. Are you from Nokia?
Jimee
not rated yet Mar 26, 2011
I, too, feel this is a fantastic application of technology which will likely never be seen again.
Beard
not rated yet Mar 27, 2011
To avoid the pocket lack of light problem; they could design a clip that attaches onto your backpack or clothes for the phone to rest on when you're not using it. Make it snap open and shut so that someone wouldn't be able to snatch it.
warra_warra
not rated yet Mar 27, 2011
This sounds like a great idea, but won't the film affect the screen clarity and colours?

I too used to have only the simplest possible phone - something that can make phone calls and nothing else. That was until one day when we had a design session and I wished I could just take a photo of the whiteboard instead of writing it all down. Then I went out and bought a phone with a good camera and never looked back. The most valuable feautes in my phone today are a good camera (amazing how many really useful ways one can communicate other than with voice), GPS, a full slideout keyboard and a good web browser. To those still stuck with simple phones, try a modern smartphone for two weeks and you will see what I mean.
Eikka
not rated yet Mar 27, 2011
To those still stuck with simple phones, try a modern smartphone for two weeks and you will see what I mean.


I would, if I didn't have to recharge it 14 times during those two weeks.

Which is why I have a phone and a PDA with the cameras and whatnots. Two batteries last longer than one, and I don't have to keep the PDA on all the time. The net works just fine over bluetooth as well.

A telephone is a different animal from a pocket computer/camera/entertainment device. The phone has to be reliable, rugged and simple to use. The PDA has to be powerful and multi-functional (hence the large energy draw). Both have different and conflicting requirements, which is why cramming it all into a phone isn't very intelligent. You end up with a bad compromize.
Moebius
1 / 5 (1) Mar 27, 2011
Who needs to use their phone to listen to music or play games or take pictures? All I want a cell phone to do is make calls

Wake up, it's XXI century. Are you from Nokia?


No, I'm from planet sensible. I have music devices for when I want to listen to music. From stereos to an Ipod. I have a real camera to take pictures. And I have computers and Playstations to play games. Believe it or not, I just use my phone to make calls. I have no use for a smart phone and wouldn't consider buying one until I can leave it on and use it for a couple weeks without charging it like my current cell phone. All kinds of apps are cool but unnecessary, completely unnecessary.


kaasinees
1 / 5 (1) Mar 27, 2011
@Moebius

For you, and your right for most people useless.

shadfurman
not rated yet Apr 02, 2011
i agree that cellphones are over enginnered. i dont need a 1ghz arm proc to check my email and read webpages. i dont even need a color screen. 4-inch eink display with some custom dsp's, maybe a small 20mhz proc, would be plenty. my 20mhz 286 did email, and even games, just fine. (not that im comparing x86 and ARM, its just an example) it'd be like a smart text phone. and the UIs are getting rediculous. i love my android, but really, its way overkill.