Endless music from the sun – the headphones are now charged with solar panels

Constantly carrying a charger and thinking about the battery of your headphones, among all the other devices, already comes one more idea. At the same time, light from the Sun is everywhere and free.

The logical solution is available, albeit at a corresponding price, typical of most environmentally friendly innovations.

There are headphones on the market with solar panels that can go months without charging.

They are even on two brands, although with the same technology. One belongs to the Swedish company Urbanista, and the other belongs to the giant Adidas. Their built-in solar panels are the work of Sweden’s Exeter, and the technology is called Powerfoyle.

The solar panels themselves, built into the headphones, are only 1.3 millimeters thick. They are located in strips of titanium dioxide, colored with natural dye. The idea is that the paint absorbs photons from the light, which are then converted into electrons. The panels have been developed for 10 years to become light and thin enough, yet powerful enough to charge and maintain the battery of headphones.

The battery itself can last up to 80 hours of listening time, so you don’t need the bright tropical sun to use the headphones. According to Exeter director Giovanni Fili, 20 minutes of the Swedish summer sun can produce one hour of energy.

Also, the panels can generate current from artificial light like lamps, so that they are constantly charged except in the deep, dark night.

According to a review in The Verge of Urbanista’s product, the Los Angeles headphones, they actually live up to their core promise — you don’t think about charging them. This happens automatically, regardless of whether the user is actively using them and listening to music, or they are turned off. The battery still falls, especially if they are used more indoors – for example in the subway or in the dark, but they definitely last 80 hours.

The use of a regular charger will probably become necessary, but at the earliest after a month of regular wear in the winter, according to the publication after the product test.

The headphones also come with an app, and it’s fun to keep track of power usage versus charging based on where you are and how you’re using them—with or without noise canceling.

The Adidas variant – RPT-02 SOL, which uses the same technology, promises the same 80 hours of listening without charging, plus some of the plastic of the device is made from recycled material.

Prices are currently €199 for the Urbanista and €230 for the Adidas device, but if the technology catches on, that will change and over time the headphones should become more affordable.

More important is the question of how far this technology could go. For example, there are already wireless keyboards that are powered by solar energy, but can this be done with a mobile phone?

According to the head of Exeter – not anytime soon. Most people keep their phones in their pockets and bags and they don’t have access to light, Giovanni Fili told the BBC. Rather, he envisions solar panels on clothing and bags to be connected to phones.

The latter actually exists. A company in Finland is developing just such a technology – fabrics in which solar panels are embedded.

However, Plano is far from clothes that charge smartphones. Their goal is to create clothing with light-powered sensors that can be washed, but its main purpose is to monitor medical indicators such as heart rate, temperature, sleep, and body fat.

Such solar cells can produce enough energy to power portable devices, but woven into textiles will not be as efficient at harvesting energy as panels exposed directly to light, company director Elina Ilen told the BBC.

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