Will your next MacBook be solar powered?

Summary:Apple received a patent for a solar-powered laptop display.

Solar-powered laptops are nothing new. There's one called the Sol that's hooked up to clunky external solar panels. Then there was the Samsung NC215S with solar cells behind the display. But the Sol is really only practical in places where electricity is scarce and the solar-powered Samsung never really caught on. 

That hasn't deterred Apple from continuing to explore solar technology for laptops.

As Apple Insider points out, Apple just received a U.S. patent for a two-sided laptop display that would house a standard display screen in the front, but it the rear there would be a second display along with photovoltaic cells and touch sensors. According to Apple Insider:

Finally, Apple proposes a photovoltaic system may also be disposed between the rear panel and front-facing LCD screen. With the glass backing and electrochromic layer in transparent mode, light is able to hit photovoltaic cells, which in turn converts the energy into electrical power for storage or immediate use. 

While I like the idea of my devices being (at least somewhat) powered by the sun. I just don't use my laptop outside enough to make a solar-powered laptop worth it. Then again, maybe if my laptop was solar powered I would use it outside more (when there isn't a polar vortex). Or the other hand, a smartphone is something I see being used outdoors much more frequently. But it looks like Apple's already ahead of me with that idea.

Of course, just because Apple has received patents for solar-powered devices it doesn't mean that either device will exist soon, or ever.

Photo: Flickr/alexanderljung

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Topics: Innovation


Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter.

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