Apple has recently filed a patent application for a touch screen solar panel that could potentially be used on future generations of iPhones, iPods, and other products. The screen uses integrated solar cells, which would capture and convert light into energy on the main screen, while also detecting touch.
According to the application, Apple has integrated touch sensors and solar panel configurations that could also be used for optical sensing. The solar panel could operate in a solar power and optical sensing mode, but when detecting a finger, would switch to capacitive sensing mode.
This technology has been in the making for more than four years, and while it’s good news to see the patent applications coming through, high costs of solar technology production could still mean it will be a while before any of these products hit the market. Either way, I’m sure many compulsive smartphone users would kill for the ability to charge their phone on the move without having to find a plug.
Image: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office