Can Solar Cells Be Put Into Smartphones?
Solar-powered calculators have been around for decades, but scientists have yet to come up with a smartphone equivalent. However, one company is working on a solar cell that could extend existing battery life.
What's the Latest Development?
Solar tech company Alta Devices is working on a high-efficiency solar cell thin enough to build into a typical smartphone, boosting existing battery life by as much as 80 percent depending on the amount of light available. The cell is made of gallium arsenide, which is much better at capturing energy than ordinary silicon but is considerably less flexible. Alta's method involves depositing gases on a heated silicon wafer, which then crystallize into an extremely thin film that can be peeled off the wafer. Currently gallium arsenide solar cells are used only by the military, but Alta has created designs that could be incorporated into phones.
What's the Big Idea?
Silicon solar cells like those found in pocket calculators don't capture enough energy to make putting them in smartphones worthwhile. Gallium arsenide cells would be especially valuable in areas of the developing world where electricity is lacking. In addition to their use in smartphones, Alta CEO Christopher S. Norris suggests that they could make cars work more efficiently by supplying part of the electricity used to power functions like power steering or air conditioning.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.
- Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
- The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
- Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.
- For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
- These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
- Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.
- In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
- This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
- Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.