Designer pitches solar-powered AA battery
Clever roll-up panel
It’s time to
bin recycle your traditional batteries, according to one designer who’s dreamt up a solar battery that can be rolled up and slotted into your gadgets.
The Solar Soft Battery
The Solar Soft Battery concept was designed by Wu Jian to provide an environmentally friendly way of collecting solar energy and an easy way to use in everyday gadgets.
Batteries not required, just sunshine
Simply lay the soft strip of solar cells out flat in the sun and, once they’ve soaked up enough rays, roll the strip up and slot it into an AA battery-sized tube. You can then slot it into your device.
The Solar Soft Battery does have a few potential drawbacks, though. Firstly, aside for TV remotes, most gadgets now run on batteries of all shapes and sizes. Secondly, a solar powered battery may only provide a short-term solution for power hungry gadget fans on the go.
It’s a nice idea, but not one that we think is likely to find its way to market anytime soon.
This is old tech
This technology was demonstrated on BBC's Tomorrows World with working production run AA, C, and D cells containing 2/3 battery and 1/3 solar cell. Admittedly low capacity but with it being NiCad or nothing it was comparable to the alternative. If used with Li-Ion/Ni-MH/Li-Poly etc then it would have very good chance of going somewhere. I don't see anything really different from what was demonstrated nearly 20 years ago.
Not a very good designer.
What a silly way of making a roll up solar battery. Any smart ‘designer’ would instead opt for a solid battery core with a flexible solar sheet around it. Aside from fatigue (and more to go wrong), it would also eliminate the need for: a soft battery, soft electrode and a magical ‘nano material’. Me? I’ll remain with my more convenient and financially superior solution of using relatively higher capacity cells and my single external charger (wall/solar powered or otherwise) to charge cell in situ. (surely I didn't have to be a real ‘inventor’ with numerous inventive patents in my name to realise that)
My design (patent-pending) trumps yours...
... it has fuzzy dice,
"Can we have a similar discussion about the meaning of the word 'designer'?"
Indeed. How about engineer while we're at it.
-Check out my idea - "wafferthin" batteries!
>They've already been thought of, and they're tricky to implement.
- OK. But what if they roll up to the size of a standard battery cell.
>Yeah, they'll probably do that as a version when they've cracked the incredibly difficult chemical and physical challenges.
-Whatever. Mine is rechargeable.
>They'll be working on that.
-No problem. Mine's solar, too.
>Well that's definitely one way to secure some "green" cred and column inches with impressionable journos.
-Especially with my model.
>You have a model.
-Yessiree. Check out my glossy 3DS Max render.
It seems that every year we get a rash of "products" cropping up, all at a similar time. Something to do with the scheduling of graduate shows perhaps?
I've done a BA in Industrial Design (and, for what it's worth, a BEng too - so put the knives away :-) ) and at no time were we allowed to get away with such flights of fancy as that seen here. We were always required to develop realistic designs and give a credible account of how the thing was gonna be made. As opposed to just mocking up some fantasy in 3DS Max.
I'm all for creative thinking, but without some grounding in realistic "big E" Engineering possibilities it's more accurately described as Art.
We've got the USB Cell, we've got standard rechargeable cells, this roll-up solar notion is pie in the sky. We'd be much better off working on larger-scale renewable energy generation further up the supply chain, that would support the already existing aforementioned devices. Imho.
Mine's the one with the roll-up solar power station in the pocket.
PS: Any news on the "modular shelf PC" from Asus? - http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2006/02/23/asus_concept_shelf_pc/
But do the materials to build this exist? If so, the only useful application that occurs to me is already performed better with a solar charger. Something like this would be great for camping and/or power outages (so long as all you wish to power is a flashlight or two - I'm not envisioning a refrigerator running on AAs), but again, a solar charger and conventional rechargeable batteries would likely be far superior, and right now they are infinitely so, seeing as they actually exist.