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Apple Granted Patent for New Solar Powered iPhone

By Charles Kennedy | Sun, 10 February 2013 00:00 | 11

Apple has just had a new patent approved for what could become the next major advancement in mobile phone technology in the form of an integrated touch and solar sensor panel; in layman’s terms a solar powered iPhone.

New generations of smart phones have faster electronics, more powerful computer chips, and larger screens with a higher resolution, yet battery technology has changed little, and this is starting to limit further advancements. Phones are becoming thinner and thinner, but they can only be as thin as their battery allows them to be; using a solar panel would avoid that problem.

On Tuesday the US Patent and Trademark Office awarded Apple with patent number 8,368,654 for their ‘integrated touch sensor and solar assembly’.

Related article: New Super Thin Solar Cell Reduces Silicon Wastage by 95%

The patent described the technology as “integrated touch sensor and solar panel configurations that may be used on portable devices, particularly handheld portable devices such as a media player or phone are disclosed. The integrated touch sensor array and solar cell stack-ups may include electrodes that are used both for collecting solar energy and for sensing on a touch sensor array. By integrating both the touch sensors and the solar cell layers into the same stack-up, surface area on the portable device may be conserved. In addition to being used for capacitive sensing, the integrated touch sensor and solar panel configurations may also be used for optical sensing.”

It works as a normal solar panel made up of many small solar cells. When a finger passes over the cells it blocks out the light and this is noted by the sensors. An algorithm then switches the device to a touch sensitive mode and it works as a normal touch screen.

By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com

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  • Runcy on February 12 2013 said:
    Next up would be the kinetic energy powered iPhone, so that a phone travelling with a user in bus, car or a bike would get powered up! Get real Apple!
  • CJ on February 11 2013 said:
    Did anyone look at the actual filing and approval date?

    This was filed over four years ago and approved in 2010. This is not a new or earth shattering filing.

    http://goo.gl/RwPsp
  • SSR on February 11 2013 said:
    Well....it will be a great hit in the UK for sure hahah :)
  • DaveA on February 11 2013 said:
    Sandip,

    Highest selling smartphone selling company in 2013, I very much doubt it, only way they are going to do that is if they produce a true game changer this year.

    I think the S4 due for release in March(?) may help Sammy continue their growth.
  • kenton on February 11 2013 said:
    Like John says phones usually go either in your pocket or a bag, so to make the most out of it I presume you would have to leave it on display in sunlight, say on your dashboard in the car while you go into a shop then it would charge nicely, that is if it is still there when you come out!
  • Theon on February 11 2013 said:
    How was Apple even granted a patent for a solar powered mobile device? I can't think of anything more vague/broad or obvious/logical.

    Luckily yes phones are usually in pockets. Still this patent should not have been granted.
  • kenton on February 11 2013 said:
    Like John says phones usually go either in your pocket or a bag, so to make the most out of it I presume you would have to leave it on display in sunlight, say on your dashboard in the car while you go into a shop then it would charge nicely, that is if it is still there when you come out!
  • lol on February 11 2013 said:
    This the best Apple can come up with.
  • Jason Alan Ward on February 11 2013 said:
    It would need to be "tuned" to the mathematical frequencies most commonly experienced in Kelvins.
    Would have thought a heat-trap would be better. Who doesn't know putting old batteries on the radiator (whilst dangerous) increases their lives. A purpose designed trap would be marvelous. Hot in your pocket. Bright out of your pocket.
  • Sandip on February 11 2013 said:
    Best of luck for the new technology, may apple be the highest smartphone selling company. In 2013.
  • John on February 11 2013 said:
    A solar paneled phone? You mean the things that are usually placed in users pockets, where there is no sunshine? Sounds to me if apple jumped the shark.

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