A startup is going to turn your smartphone into a hybrid. France's SunPartner Group has set its sights on improving cell phone battery life by complementing it with a screen-mounted transparent solar panel called "Wysips."
The idea isn't to make these phones completely solar powered—or even replace big battery packs—but instead try to provide an easy and inexpensive solution to the power hunger issues plaguing today's mobile devices. SunPartner Group is hoping Wysips solar panels will be able to increase battery life by around 20 percent, and this solution seems to be more elegant than the giant batteries found in today's phablets.
Since the solar panels are less than a millimeter thick, they're 90 percent transparent, making them relatively unobtrusive. At only a few dollars each, these panels can be built into the phone or simply slapped on, making it inexpensive and simple to implement.
Besides providing users with more battery to keep the Tetris going on trans-Atlantic flights, the Wysips could prove very useful in disaster situations, reviving a dead or near-dead phone and providing the little bit of juice it might need to make a vital communication.
The company hopes to double Wysips' power output by 2014, and if the technology proves to be as good as it sounds, maybe we'll see this technology on other touchscreen gadgets, windows, billboards, and even fabrics in the future.
Photos: screenshots from SunPartner Group