French group pitches solar screen solution to stretch phone life

June 16, 2013 by Nancy Owano weblog

( —You can always find some new story about the hunt for alternative power sources that involve ways to harness solar power. The SunPartner Group may not have found the single magic bullet that can get us to walk away from batteries, chargers and wall outlets for good, but they are getting various manufacturers to show interest in their idea. SunPartner is a small company in Aix-en-Provence, France, They propose a low-cost transparent panel that can use solar power to charge phones and other mobile devices. The panel is undergoing tests with a number of manufacturers.

The company said that they expect to follow and that the public will see the first models integrating the technology hitting the market some time in 2014. The company was founded by optician Joel Gilbert and businessman Ludovic Deblois.

SunPartner Group's screen collects and delivers it to the phone. According to reports, the module is a 300-micron-thick, solar cell module to fit under or on the touchscreen. IEEE Spectrum reported that SunPartner uses stripes of standard thin-film alternating with . It then adds a layer of tiny lenses that spread the image coming from the screen to make the opaque stripes disappear and to concentrate rays coming in from the sun

SunPartner's Matthieu De Broca recently took part in the French Tech Tour in the U.S., to discuss the product. (The French Tech Tour is an annual program, produced by Ubifrance San Francisco. The tour supports French tech startups to drum up business in .)

The solution extends the battery life about 20 percent in normal use. As an inexpensive solution for at least extending the life of a smartphone for an extra few dollars, some manufacturers see its promise.

Credit: IEEE Spectrum

SunPartner, set up in 2008 in Aix-en-Provence, France, has two business subsidiaries, one of which is Wysips (What You See Is Photovoltaic Surface). That is the activity pitching the solution as being able to transform surfaces into sources of solar energy production.

Explore further: One-euro device that recharges mobile on the go

More information:

Related Stories

Lotus Mobile unfolds its solar-charging petals

April 4, 2013

( —A Scottsdale, Arizona, company is making the news with its fold-able solar charging system of 18 panels that resemble a flower, and can sit atop a vehicle, which gives the device the appearance of a supersized ...

Smartphones to rescue for lost cats, grandmas

February 28, 2013

Lost your cat? Your grandmother? Or are you injured in a car crash, unable to call for help because your phone battery is dead? Never fear, a mobile solution is near.

Peel-and-stick solar cells

April 16, 2013

It may be possible soon to charge cell phones, change the tint on windows, or power small toys with peel-and-stick versions of solar cells, thanks to a partnership between Stanford University and the U.S. Department of Energy's ...

Recommended for you

Scientists write 'traps' for light with tiny ink droplets

October 23, 2017

A microscopic 'pen' that is able to write structures small enough to trap and harness light using a commercially available printing technique could be used for sensing, biotechnology, lasers, and studying the interaction ...

When words, structured data are placed on single canvas

October 22, 2017

If "ugh" is your favorite word to describe entering, amending and correcting data on the rows and columns on spreadsheets you are not alone. Coda, a new name in the document business, feels it's time for a change. This is ...

Enhancing solar power with diatoms

October 20, 2017

Diatoms, a kind of algae that reproduces prodigiously, have been called "the jewels of the sea" for their ability to manipulate light. Now, researchers hope to harness that property to boost solar technology.


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1.7 / 5 (6) Jun 16, 2013
Another useless idea. By design it will lower screen brightness and resolution. Also, how many people keep their phone exposed to sunlight during normal day to day usage. They would be better off mounting a normal solar panel on the back of the phone.
2.3 / 5 (7) Jun 16, 2013
Does it come with a strap to mount it on top your head when not in use?
1 / 5 (5) Jun 16, 2013
Perhaps a nice beret with a clear plastic sleeve to hold the phone.
5 / 5 (3) Jun 16, 2013
Shouldn't it say "Extends your phone's battery life" instead of "Extends your phone's life?"
1 / 5 (5) Jun 16, 2013
Mobile companies should provide Advanced Vending Machines that take in old cellphones & provide new charged ones ....with all data intact for a price!
1 / 5 (6) Jun 16, 2013
Tie the Cellphone to a Balloon and send up the Window!
5 / 5 (1) Jun 16, 2013
According to reports, the module is a 300-micron-thick, solar cell module to fit under or on the touchscreen.

Wow, that's really thick. Surely they can reduce that by at least an order of magnitude?

And yeah, I don't see the point of it. I keep my phone in my pocket pretty much all the time, so this won't do anything.

Overall I get the feeling that they didn't really think things through before they started the R&D...
1 / 5 (1) Jun 16, 2013
To all the comments beating down the idea: you're trolling, right? It says 20% battery life increase for *normal* use, so it basically reduces effective power drained by the screen. More than that, it scales with screen size, so it should be applicable to tablets as well. If they can make the image quality loss to be minimized, that'll be a great technical hack.
1 / 5 (4) Jun 17, 2013
"To all the comments beating down the idea: you're trolling, right? It says 20% battery life increase for *normal* use,"

I suppose that we have to define "normal use" at this point. To me, normal use is storage in a pocket, holster or purse ie NO Sunlight. If they are trying to claim that the time that you are actually using the phone during the sunlight hours will actually provide enough power to give you 20% more power for a full day then I will believe it when it is proven to me.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.