A Glasgow designer has unveiled a prototype pair of headphones which he claims can harness solar power to keep mobile devices charged. Andrew Anderson launched the OnBeat headphones on crowdfunding site Kickstarter and hopes to have them on sale by early 2014. The headphone band is fitted with a flexible solar cell with a charge capacity of 0.55 watts. The energy generated is stored in two small lithium batteries.
Concealed within both earpads, the batteries charge the device they are plugged into as it is playing. Mr Anderson hopes to raise £200,000 to get the headphones into production. "We are still working on the design and prototype," he said. "We need to improve the headphones, people want to know about noise cancellation." He admitted that his father Frank had come up with the idea.
"It's really simple, you would think it had already been done," he said. "You can buy solar chargers for phones but the thing is it's like you're carrying two phones around." The idea of using renewable sources to charge devices is proving popular among developers. SolePower says a walk of between 2.5 - 5 miles is required to charge an iPhone. A number of inventors have looked at harnessing the energy generated by walking. One project seeking crowdfunding via Kickstarter in the US is a shoe insole which can be used to charge batteries.
A walk of between 2.5 - 5 miles is required to charge an average iPhone battery, says the team at Solepower, which developed the prototype at Carnegie Mellon University. "We developed a proof-of-concept prototype for lighting up shoes so students could easily see where they were walking at night," say team. "We quickly realised that the power generation concept was more universal than small lights. We're inventors at heart and our goal is to solve problems using cool technology. Plus, we'd reeeaaallly like our phones to stop dying."