Spray-on solar cells could be answer to smartphone battery life problems

Picture: ExtremeTech

Picture: ExtremeTech

Up until the present, the various paintjobs of our phones have existed primarily as a means of personalization. In the near future, they could well be the way that our phones are charged.

A new study by the UK’s University of Sheffield is investigating the possibility of spray-painted solar cells which could be used to power anything from smartphones to electric cars.

While the energy generating effectiveness of paint-on solar cells was just one percent a couple of years ago, Sheffield University currently gets about 11 percent efficiency versus 19 percent at optimal performance.

The key is coating objects in a calcium titanium oxide mineral called perovskite, which has the advantage of absorbing light almost as well as silicon but is extremely inexpensive.

This isn’t the first time that the possibility of charging phones by solar power has been raised, but it could well turn out to be the most effective.

Earlier this year, Boston installed special solar-powered benches, dubbed “Soofas,” in various parks in the area. Apple has also reportedly experimented with solar-powered charging for its upcoming iWatch wearable device.

Although Sheffield’s technology is not quite ready to go to market, it certainly hints at a potential charger-free future in which smartphone users are no longer the “wall huggers” they have occasionally been characterized as. We’re certainly on board for the technology when it arrives!

Source: ExtremeTech
Via: Engadget