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[Eng] Apple Patent for "Solar Cells on Portable Devices"

post #1 of 24
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Quote:
While we wait, and wait... and wait for manufactures to perfect long-lasting fuel cells, Apple and others are pursuing at least one other approach: solar augmentation. In a patent application dated April 24, 2008 and titled "Solar cells on portable devices" attributed to a number of Apple employees, Apple reveals possible plans to integrate solar cells into devices such as iPods and MacBooks. The application describes a scenario where, "Solar cells are typically stacked with other layers made of transparent or semi-transparent materials... Some of these layers may be used for display or input purposes, and some layers may be coated with various materials or they may be etched with product logos or other patterns." In other words, Apple is looking to cover the entire device, including the transparent display, with a layer of solar cells -- the latter approach already patented by Motorola. While the efficiency of solar cells and existing manufacturing techniques call into question the immediate viability of such an approach, it's intriguing nonetheless as a means to offset any lost battery life on the move to say, 3G.
Source [Engadget]
Original Source [MacRumors]
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post #2 of 24
Cool!
post #3 of 24
For some reason, I doubt they will use this. Apple patents a ton of things yet never uses them.
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post #4 of 24
Not very effective, cause it will only prolong the battery life, not charge it.
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post #5 of 24
Hold your iphone / regular phone / ipod in your hand and observe how much free surface area there is to collect energy from the sun.... Not much! And most devices spend their time in your pocket, far from the sun's energy.
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post #6 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by pauldovi View Post
Hold your iphone / regular phone / ipod in your hand and observe how much free surface area there is to collect energy from the sun.... Not much! And most devices spend their time in your pocket, far from the sun's energy.
But for a laptop, which has not only a lot more surface area under the LCD but a screen that is usually tilted so it could receive sunlight if outdoors, I can see some potential.
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post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chipp View Post
But for a laptop, which has not only a lot more surface area under the LCD but a screen that is usually tilted so it could receive sunlight if outdoors, I can see some potential.
You could put the solar panels directly in front of the LCD so that they use the energy given off by the LCD. Sure the user may not be able to see the screen, but if Apple sells it people will buy it.
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post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by pauldovi View Post
Hold your iphone / regular phone / ipod in your hand and observe how much free surface area there is to collect energy from the sun.... Not much! And most devices spend their time in your pocket, far from the sun's energy.
Yeah, people think solar cells are magical devices that you just slap on any product and you get free energy.

Little do they know how much solar cells cost and how little energy they output.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chipp View Post
But for a laptop, which has not only a lot more surface area under the LCD but a screen that is usually tilted so it could receive sunlight if outdoors, I can see some potential.
Well think about how much power a laptop can draw. The adapters on MacBooks are rated at 65W, I think. Solar cells with an area of about 5 square inches can produce I think around half a watt.

So these solar cells will raise the cost of products tremendously, and there will be little to no gain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pauldovi View Post
You could put the solar panels directly in front of the LCD so that they use the energy given off by the LCD. Sure the user may not be able to see the screen, but if Apple sells it people will buy it.
That's just funny
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
This is just a patent filing - any product could easily be 10 years away. Sounds to me like they're patenting an idea that sucks now, but will be very valuable in a few years. Alternative energy is a hot field and solar is one of the big contenders. Solar right now is barely feasible in power plant form, but there are massive amounts of research going on. Give this idea time to stew and it will have been way ahead of its time when solar cells are feasible and practical in the mobile realm
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post #10 of 24
Hey, calculators run off solar panel thingies, and most of the time they're used indoors...
    
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