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Apple Patents Solar Cell Multitouch Panels

By - Source: Patently Apple | B 29 comments

Panel's electrodes will function as both touch sensors and solar power collectors.

Apple has had a patent approved related to the integration of solar charging in a device's touchscreen.

As opposed to the utilization of layers, the panel's electrodes will function as touch sensors and solar power collectors. It'll allow Apple to retain the thinness of its devices, while also offering the capability of being powered by the sun.

A management unit will decide whether the harvested energy applies power to the phone or, alternatively, be stored in the battery for future use. Apple's newly-granted U.S. Patent No. 8,368,654 for an "[i]ntegrated touch sensor and solar assembly" was filed back in 2008.

The Cupertino firm recently patented an iPhone without a home button, which is believed to be the low-cost variant of the company's flagship device.



 

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  • 17 Hide
    twelve25 , February 6, 2013 8:11 PM
    This is actually pretty neat. I know a lot of us like to rip on Apple, but occasional they have some good ideas!

  • 13 Hide
    alchemy69 , February 6, 2013 8:17 PM
    So they don't know how to go about building it but if some genius through hours of blood, sweat and toil does ever manage to one day invent such a thing then Apple will happily screw him.
  • 12 Hide
    spentshells , February 6, 2013 8:16 PM
    noob2222Hold on, I have to put my iphone in direct sunlight.Uhh ... what?first comes retina display, followed by solar panel nano wires in front of it, sounds great.... http://www.techhive.com/article/25 [...] rough.htmlWonder how much power you can get with 4% efficient solar panels on an Iphone. Charging time: 24 days.



    Drinking by the lake this summer we found out an Iphone can only sit i n direct sunlight while playing music for 20 minutes before it gives an error and turns off until it colos down
Other Comments
  • 8 Hide
    sacre , February 6, 2013 8:07 PM
    neat. would be nice to just lay your phone on a table and have it retain its charge for that while. They would last a bit longer.
  • 17 Hide
    twelve25 , February 6, 2013 8:11 PM
    This is actually pretty neat. I know a lot of us like to rip on Apple, but occasional they have some good ideas!

  • 9 Hide
    noob2222 , February 6, 2013 8:11 PM
    Hold on, I have to put my iphone in direct sunlight.
    Uhh ... what?

    first comes retina display, followed by solar panel nano wires in front of it, sounds great....

    http://www.techhive.com/article/259688/researchers_develop_solar_panels_that_still_let_the_sunlight_through.html

    Wonder how much power you can get with 4% efficient solar panels on an Iphone. Charging time: 24 days.
  • 12 Hide
    spentshells , February 6, 2013 8:16 PM
    noob2222Hold on, I have to put my iphone in direct sunlight.Uhh ... what?first comes retina display, followed by solar panel nano wires in front of it, sounds great.... http://www.techhive.com/article/25 [...] rough.htmlWonder how much power you can get with 4% efficient solar panels on an Iphone. Charging time: 24 days.



    Drinking by the lake this summer we found out an Iphone can only sit i n direct sunlight while playing music for 20 minutes before it gives an error and turns off until it colos down
  • 3 Hide
    spentshells , February 6, 2013 8:17 PM
    about 80F direct sunlight for 20 mins
  • 13 Hide
    alchemy69 , February 6, 2013 8:17 PM
    So they don't know how to go about building it but if some genius through hours of blood, sweat and toil does ever manage to one day invent such a thing then Apple will happily screw him.
  • 0 Hide
    spectrablue , February 6, 2013 8:31 PM
    I call bullshit!
  • 4 Hide
    spectrablue , February 6, 2013 8:31 PM
    http://recombu.com/mobile/news/self-sustaining-oled-solar-cell-touchscreen-concept-trips-the-light-fantastic_M16523.html
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 6, 2013 8:32 PM
    Well, alchemy, I assume it's tech their R&D is actively working on, which is why they patented it. If anyone ever does manage to get this working and working well (I have my doubts with current solar technology), I'll guarantee you Apple is going to want it in the iPhone. The patent system is pretty messed up and Apple in particular is toward the top of companies that exploit it, but I'd give them a little more credit than that. It's an interesting concept and even companies that have developed somewhat of a reputation for stagnation still typically pursue new ideas when they have them.
  • 5 Hide
    internetlad , February 6, 2013 8:34 PM
    Patents are great but, uh, is it ever going to hit market, or is this another one of those "futureproofing" patents that apple loves.
  • 2 Hide
    calmstateofmind , February 6, 2013 8:43 PM
    Just wondering how this will work when the phone is in someone's pocket/purse...which is most of the time (unless their actively using it).
  • 6 Hide
    A Bad Day , February 6, 2013 8:45 PM
    Twelve25This is actually pretty neat. I know a lot of us like to rip on Apple, but occasional they have some good ideas!


    Let's just hope they don't shut down another company with a lawyer army for it.
  • -3 Hide
    robochump , February 6, 2013 8:47 PM
    internetladPatents are great but, uh, is it ever going to hit market, or is this another one of those "futureproofing" patents that apple loves.


    Most patents work this way. Especially for Patent trolls and at least Apple makes hardware and not just patents. Wonder why this idea took so long to patent? Most likely because it involves existing tech and requires a 3rd party solar panel manufacturer. I really like this idea as long as Apple n Co can make the panel look like a normal screen.
  • -2 Hide
    robochump , February 6, 2013 8:55 PM
    spectrabluehttp://recombu.com/mobile/news/sel [...] 16523.html


    Good catch. It is not uncommon for an idea to appear from multiple sources at nearly the same time. Its whoever can get the patent 1st that wins...lol. In this case I can assume Apple came up with the concept first and will hopefully work with or allow other institutions/companies to develop the hardware.
  • 0 Hide
    twisted politiks , February 6, 2013 9:09 PM
    spectrabluehttp://recombu.com/mobile/news/sel [...] 16523.html


    After reading the article, it seems these two idea's are separate. Apple's patent wants to use an outside source as energy, while the article you posted wants to recycle wasted energy OLED displays scatter.
  • 3 Hide
    InvalidError , February 6, 2013 9:22 PM
    Solar panels work by absorbing light.

    If Apple's solar panel is transparent enough not to hinder display functions then it is likely too transparent to capture significant solar energy.

    Low-cost solar cells are very much opaque and are only ~10% efficient. Apple's transparent cells would likely be more expensive and be even less efficient so you would probably get 1-2W out of a 10" iPad-sized panel. I suppose that's better than nothing as long as it does not add any significant weight and relatively little cost.

    I would simply slap standard cells on the back of the phone/tablet, avoids burning the screen with UV/IR.
  • 3 Hide
    xpeh , February 6, 2013 9:25 PM
    Twelve25This is actually pretty neat. I know a lot of us like to rip on Apple, but occasional they have some good ideas!


    You mean, they occasionally steal good ideas and patent them.
  • 0 Hide
    spectrablue , February 6, 2013 9:59 PM
    InvalidErrorSolar panels work by absorbing light.If Apple's solar panel is transparent enough not to hinder display functions then it is likely too transparent to capture significant solar energy.Low-cost solar cells are very much opaque and are only ~10% efficient. Apple's transparent cells would likely be more expensive and be even less efficient so you would probably get 1-2W out of a 10" iPad-sized panel. I suppose that's better than nothing as long as it does not add any significant weight and relatively little cost.I would simply slap standard cells on the back of the phone/tablet, avoids burning the screen with UV/IR.
    very subtle but yes that is a difference... doesn't take freaking rocket science to make the leap from that idea to a general solar cell. The patent office may consider this close enough to be prior art.
  • 2 Hide
    house70 , February 6, 2013 11:30 PM
    otacon72It's not meant to be the primary charging solution.... man some people here are dumb.

    He was putting a funny spin to this true fact:
    InvalidErrorSolar panels work by absorbing light.If Apple's solar panel is transparent enough not to hinder display functions then it is likely too transparent to capture significant solar energy.Low-cost solar cells are very much opaque and are only ~10% efficient. Apple's transparent cells would likely be more expensive and be even less efficient so you would probably get 1-2W out of a 10" iPad-sized panel. I suppose that's better than nothing as long as it does not add any significant weight and relatively little cost.I would simply slap standard cells on the back of the phone/tablet, avoids burning the screen with UV/IR.


    Apparently, you can't even tell when people are jokingly making a valid point. Speaking of "dumb", eh?
  • 1 Hide
    house70 , February 6, 2013 11:39 PM
    robochumpGood catch. It is not uncommon for an idea to appear from multiple sources at nearly the same time. Its whoever can get the patent 1st that wins...lol. In this case I can assume Apple came up with the concept first and will hopefully work with or allow other institutions/companies to develop the hardware.

    Obviously, you have not been following the news lately. Either that, or you're very naive to think that Apple would ever "work with or allow other companies blah, blah".
    Besides, that's not the case here. Not only the concept, but also the prototype exists (and has been here for about a year already, if not longer). But hey, even if someone showed you the working device, you would still believe it was Apple that came up with it first, because that's what living inside Apple's bubble means.
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