LG Display unveils solar-powered e-book reader that may eliminate wall-chargers—at least for those outdoorsy types.
LG Display has developed a prototype thin-film solar cell designed to bring another kind of charge to the burgeoning e-book market. The specially-designed thin film cell was developed in-house by LG Display for the standard 6" electronic book interface and recently showcased in Sony's e-book at an event in Seoul.
The cell is thinner than a credit card and weighs just 20 grams so it won't significantly increase the weight of an electronic book reader. Engineers at LG Display say the cell is also flexible and relatively stable against changes in the external environment.
Head of the Solar Cell Office at LG Display, Mr. Ki Yong Kim, noted that “The idea of e-book combined with solar cell will offer users the added benefit of longer usage. We will continue to provide users with enhanced convenience and value to solidify our lead in next-generation, environmentally friendly products."
But how much time does it take to charge the e-book? Engineers say about four to five hours of sunlight would extend the running time of the e-book’s battery a full day without the need for additional charging. But most electronic books already exhibit a long battery life because the units only draw power while the page is being turned. And with expected increases in solar energy conversion, people who spend time reading outdoors may rarely, if ever, need to charge their e-books.
While the addition of a solar panel could mean regular readers never have to worry about charging the devices again, they shouldn't expect that anytime soon. LG Display says the products will not be ready for full commercial roll-out until 2014 - but by that time, engineers plan to have increased the energy conversion efficiency rate to 14%, almost one and a half times the efficiency of the current prototype.
Image via LG Display