Battery Concept Recharges in the Sun
The Light Catcher is a cool concept that combines an AA or AAA battery profile with integrated miniature solar panels. Imagine placing your dead batteries on a sunny window sill for a few hours to recharge. Much like wind-up batteries, the solar concept makes disposable batteries a thing of the past.
Pictured here, renderings of the Light Catcher batteries show a clear exterior that lets light penetrate to the internal solar panels at the core. Besides just typical battery functionality, they also provide a 3.5mm jack for powering compatible devices on the go.
Of course, the Light Catcher batteries can also be charged with a standard wall plug charging unit, which would speed charging and ensure the internal power cell reaches full capacity. The designers, Yung-Hsaing Chang, Ming-Shien Lin, and Chang-Ting Lu have submitted the Light Catcher concept to the 2011 International Forum Design Hannover (iF 2011) competition.
It's not clear whether or not a prototype exists yet, or how much the Light Catcher might cost. Outdoor applications would find a product like the Light Catcher battery invaluable for portable, clean power off the grid. Since the batteries can be charged anywhere with sunlight, there's no limit to where they could be used.
As the electronics and solar cells required to manufacture such a product are refined, we hope to see more products like the Light Catcher that will operate cleanly off the grid and encourage reuse.