Could solar-powered headphones be the next tech innovation?
If you always leave the house without charging your headphones, help may finally be on hand as the first commercially available solar-powered headphones are now on sale for £169. The models, by Swedish firm Urbanista and German sports giant Adidas, both have solar panels built into their headbands which can give you near-infinite battery life. The solar panels located at the top of the headband are made by another company that has spent the past decade working to make them light, thin and powerful enough to do the job.
These headphones are both a matter of convenience as they don’t have to be charged and more importantly, doing the right thing for the environment as you are not having to use electricity to charge them.
How long do they take to charge?
The solar-powered headphones still have a built-in battery that can power up to 80 hours of playback time. It is this that the solar panel strip charges. Currently, the tech can create one hour’s worth of power “from just 20 minutes of English or Swedish summer sunshine”.
Urbanista estimates that the battery will maintain in excess of 80% of its original capacity for more than 300 full charge cycles.
The panels can also create some power from artificial light, such as indoor lighting, so the idea is that the headphones are always charging unless it is the dead of night. And the headphones also still have a power socket if back-up power is required after heavy usage.
The boss of the company that makes the panels adds that solar panels are unlikely to be added to mobile phones any time soon, because so many of us keep our handset in a pocket, and therefore it doesn’t have access to light. Instead, he envisages the panels being fitted to people’s clothing and bags, and phones to be charged from these.