Solar-powered devices are nothing new, but they typically reside in the lonely fringes of the gadgetsphere (Yay for made-up words!). Admit it. Given the choice of a sleek iPhone or a Samsung E1107, which would you choose?
Lately, however, some electronics makers have been making a concerted push to move beyond niche status and bring solar goodness to everyday gadgets. For instance, today Logitech debuted a wireless, solar keyboard that requires no batteries — aside from its built-in rechargeable cells, that is. So say goodbye to hunting for — and eventually disposing of — alkaline batteries. And it charges with ambient light, so there’s no need to let it charge up on a sunny windowsill. Also in the works is a free app (available on November 15) that will measure light levels and alert users when things get too dark to charge the keyboard.
The PVC-free, 1/3-inch thick, $80 keyboard, which is unimaginatively named the Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750, is up for preorder now and will hit retailers by month’s end. Here’s a video from the folks at Logitech of an un-boxing of the keyboard the company’s calling “a gift… from the future!” Indeed!
And for the (eco-minded) couch potato…
For those that prefer to let their fingers rest upon the TV remote, Philips offers another novel use for solar panels. The company recently unveiled its “greenest TV” in Europe, the 42-inch Econova LED TV, whose eco-attributes include an enclosure made of recycled aluminum, a 40W draw during operation (zero watts off) and a solar-powered remote. Check it out in the video below.
According to the EPA, Americans buy 3 billion batteries a year. Unfortunately, “virtually none” of the alkaline batteries are being recycled. If more makers of low-power gadgets, it could put a nice dent in the tons of batteries that end up in landfills. And I, for one, wouldn’t mind never having to buy another battery for my keyboards or remotes again.
And though I would hate to see the Energizer Bunny join the scores of unemployed, maybe he could be find work hawking rechargeables.