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Screen as Solar Charger

The idea behind Sun partner Technologies' Wysips technology is to turn screens into a solar collector. It's similar to the way Casio solar watches are powered, but scaled up for phones, tablets, notebooks — and, eventually, electric cars.

Wysips' technologies are about energy harvesting to bring additional energy. Under the surface, Wysips' Crystal technology adds a layer of micro lenses to the system's display that's roughly five human hairs thick. It fits between the LCD and the phone or tablet's touch-sensitive overlay.

At the moment, the solar cells can generate roughly 2.5 mill watts per square centimeter in typical sunlight conditions. According to the company, after 10 minutes in the sun, the screen could generate enough electricity to power a phone for an extra couple minutes of talk time. That's just the start because the technology will have a second-generation product ready for commercialization later this year that ups the power output by 60 percent to 4 mill watts per square centimeter.

Scale it up to a tablet or notebook, and the payoff improves, because larger screens mean more power; the company has experimented with displays up to 13 inches. If a mobile phone has a screen of 12.5-inch screen had today's Wysips Crystal screen, it could boost the battery with 1 watt of additional power as long as the sun were shining.

So far, the company has demonstrated its technology on Bookeen e-book readers and nevo watches. But it all came together at this year's Mobile World Congress, when the company showed a Kyocera Torque E6710 phone with a solar screen to augment its battery. Scaled up, this technology could be used for things like home and office windows, car windshields and moon roofs.