LONDON: Researchers have designed new “smart” solar sunglasses incorporating semi-transparent organic solar cells that can generate electric power enough to operate devices such as hearing aids.
The invention can pave the way for other future applications such as the integration of organic solar cells into windows or overhead glazing, the researchers said.
“We bring solar power to places where other solar technologies fail,” said Alexander Colsmann, from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany.
“The solar glasses we developed are an example of how organic solar cells may be employed in applications that would not be feasible with conventional photovoltaics,” added Dominik Landerer, doctoral student at the KIT.
The solar cell lenses, perfectly fitted to a commercial frame, have a thickness of approximately 1.6 mm and weigh about six grams — just like the lenses of traditional sunglasses.
A microprocessor and two small displays are integrated into the temples of the solar glasses, which help these “smart” glasses to be self-powered to measure the solar illumination intensity and ambient temperature and view as bar graphs.
These solar glasses also work in indoor environments under illumination down to 500 lux — the usual illumination of an office or a living area.