Apple has solar designs, wins patents

Oct 23, 2011 by Nancy Owano report

(PhysOrg.com) -- Apple recently won patents with the US Patent and Trademark office. These patents focus on ideas for using solar technology for laptops, smartphones and tablets. One such patent involves using sunlight to light up a laptop's screen. The patent application explains the idea as an “apparatus and methods for harnessing external light to illuminate a display screen of an electronic device."

Apple’s concept indicates that the display screen may be illuminated using a light harness, reflector, translucent surface, or any combination thereof. The light harness may be cylindrical or hexahedral and coupled to an external light input or collector. The reflector may be repositioned toward or away from the display screen to reflect external light toward the display screen. The translucent surface may allow external light to pass through it to illuminate the display screen. The translucent surface may protect the rear face of the display screen, or the rear face of the display screen may itself be translucent.

The other patent is titled "Method of assembling integrated circuit components.” Inventors listed on this application are Bradley Spare, Michael Hillman and Gregory Tice.

The abstract says that the idea involves methods of mounting integrated circuits including solar cells to a substrate, where the circuits are mounted before being singulated into discrete die. Once the die sites or other circuits are formed on a wafer, the wafer will be attached, whole or divided into multi-die site wafer segments, to a substrate. After mounting, the die sites are singulated to form discrete die already mounted to the supporting substrate. The singulation may be performed by laser dicing of the wafer segments.

Laser dicing wafer fragments helps achieve greater density of cell manufacture on the wafer and greater density in placement on a printed circuit board or other substrate, according to Apple's .

Apple points out the significance of its invention: The techniques, according to Apple, offer efficiencies in the handling of semiconductor wafers and the devices formed. “The present invention provides a new method of assembling semiconductor device components, including but not limited to solar cells, to a supporting substrate; with such methods providing efficiencies not present in prior art methods.”

Responding to the news of Apple's designs, Apple watchers see the as one more sign that, like Intel, Apple is not wasting any time thinking about the most efficient ways to harness solar energy to make optimized computing devices for end users.

Earlier this year, stories were circulating that Apple was indeed busy experimenting with solar power, and considering which company would produce panels for future products. was also reported as looking into ways to embed solar cells in devices.

Explore further: The ethics of driverless cars

More information:
-- patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Pa… num.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50

-- patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Pa… ,465&RS=PN/8,040,465

via PatentlyApple

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User comments : 6

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Urgelt
4.1 / 5 (8) Oct 23, 2011
I'd like for someone to explain what's novel about any of this.

To my eye, it looks like a corporation taking advantage of a thoroughly broken patent system to gain exclusive rights over a whole category of products: embedding solar cells into consumer technology. Apple can use such patents defensively, or they can go on the offense and try to close down competing products, as they have done with Samsung - where Apple has claimed that they own the idea of a rectangular hand-held consumer device with rounded corners.

Apple does innovate; but their patent tactics do not stop at innovation.
Eikka
5 / 5 (3) Oct 23, 2011
I'd like for someone to explain what's novel about any of this.


The fact that it's not a solar panel, but a mirror placed behind an LCD to replace the backlight when it's sunny. Reflective LCDs have been done ever since LCD was invented, but I don't think anybody has tried to do a transmissive naturally lighted LCD before.
_nigmatic10
4.3 / 5 (7) Oct 23, 2011
This is why apple has always been on my blacklist of do not buy. It started with jobs and it seems he found enough people to continue the legacy of patenting that which is already out there.
They will patent it then market/sue/buy out anyone that is/was/already using the tech then have their apple zealots put forth to the apple zombies that apple is the one true god.

...Yes. I hate apple and hated jobs.
137
5 / 5 (1) Oct 24, 2011
patents are for Fags
Gilbert
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 24, 2011
http://www.youtub...7eal4uXI

this interview clearly shows the difference in their mindsets, bill is an innovator, steve is a marketer/ entrepreneur

I hate Apple, as an engineer myself, IMO Apple's policy is : don't let anyone use anything that could remotely enhance human life. Dumb down and limit the capacity of everything and everyone. Libertarian Capitalism ftw.

fml

You could do more on a PC from the 80's than you can do on a mac from today. The only difference is that a mac looks nice, and is simple enough for a climate sceptic to figure out how to browse omartumr's page...
Prok
not rated yet Oct 25, 2011
ridiculous patent from a ridiculous company