Smartwatch can now be powered by Extra-light, flexible solar cell
Smartwatch can now be powered by Extra-light, flexible solar cell

In the future, there is a possibility that smartwatches powered by solar cells might become a more feasible option. Researchers have developed a flexible solar cell which could be a perfect option for wearable technology in the future.

As displayed in the image above, it can easily sit on a flower. This is because it’s ten times slimmer than a human hair, almost about 0.3 micrometers. It probably has enough power for a full-featured smartwatch. This is possible because it has a power output of 9.9W per gram.

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According to Monash researchers, the useful shelf-life would be about 11.5 years. Hence, this solar cell could keep a device running for several hours. Tests have proven that it could last for 20,000 hours with the least degradation. Tests have also shown that after 4700 hours, it could degrade by just 4.8 percent. This suggests that your smartwatch could last for about two years.

Most solar cells have a power conversion efficiency of more than 20 percent. On the other hand, this solar cell has a power conversion efficiency of 13 percent. That may be lower than an average solar cell, however, it is enough to power wristwear technology.

The advantages may be apparent. Gratefully, Monash researchers are ready to commercialize the solar cell soon. However, in some cases, it takes years to modify and implement such inventions. This could lead to more wearables with small batteries, that could keep them functioning for a longer period of time or possibly, none at all. These devices will be slimmer compared to the heavy and bulky devices that are commonly used today.

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Since, solar energy illuminated on earth is 1000 watts per square meter. This solar cell can produce 130 watts of electricity per square meter.

Dr. Wenchao Huang is the lead researcher at the university’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering. It was his team that developed the extra-light, flexible solar cell. Huang claims that this invention can even power devices that measure the heart or lungs.

“Our ultra-flexible solar cells can simultaneously achieve improved power conversion efficiency, excellent mechanical properties, and robust stability. This makes them a very promising candidate as a power source in wearable electronics to realize long-term monitoring of various physiological signals, such as heart and breathing rates,” Huang said. 

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