What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

Solar Cell Fabrics Could Make Charging Phones Much Easier

December 13, 2012, 1:30 PM
Shutterstock_38073568

What's the Latest Development?

Penn State professor John Badding and an international team of scientists have combined glass optical fibers with the semiconductor materials found in typical photovoltaics to create a solar cell that, in shape and width, is thinner than a human hair. Their process, which was published last week in the online version of the journal Advanced Materials, built on earlier work that attempted to address the challenge of merging round optical fibers with flat silicon-based electronic chips. High-pressure chemistry techniques allowed them to shape the fundamental elements in those chips into a form that could be incorporated into the fiber.

What's the Big Idea?

Badding says that it's possible to create very long fibers using this method, which enables the weaving of lightweight fabrics that can be used in a wide range of applications including power generation and battery charging. This could be very useful for soldiers in the field, who often carry heavy chargers. The shape of the fabric also lets it receive light at different angles, according to Badding: "[It] would not be as dependent upon where the light is coming from or where the sun is in the horizon and the time of day."

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

 

Solar Cell Fabrics Could Ma...

Newsletter: Share: