The Sun2Charge, a solar charger design by Jake Beadenkopf via Coroflot, delivers a flexible, miniature solar panel made up of dye-sensitized solar cells. These cells provide an affordable and achievable alternative to p-n junction solar photovoltaic (PV) devices. The p-n junction is where two semiconductors, each “doped” to a different charge, initiate the phase change that produces electricity when electrons flow across the barrier.
Coroflot, the online platform where artists and designers display their portfolios, offers a plethora of unique designs using solar energy. This, the Sun2Charge, takes simple solar charging one step further by enabling the solar panel to turn, or angle, in such a way to collect as much sunlight as possible.
An aspect of thin-film solar PV technology, dye-sensitized solar cells are not only less complicated to manufacture, requiring no special machinery or ambient light, heat and moisture controls, but perform nearly as well in converting sunlight into energy as do the best thin films. This price-performance ratio is expected to lead to commercial applications of dye-sensitized solar cell material by 2020. At this time, dye-sensitized solar cells (DSC, or DSSC) are the most efficient third-generation solar technology available.
In addition, Beadenkopf’s design promises the architectural strength of an armadillo’s shell, incorporated into a charger that combines sleek, powder-finish black with brushed steel for a visually appealing device. Push buttons on the top and bottom open the armadillo-type plates to expose and expand the solar panels, though frankly we’re not sure how all this relates to an electric razor. Is Beadenkopf’s design more fun than solar cell paint made from dye-sensitized solar cells? Probably not, but at least it’s not as disturbing, at a purely visceral level, as the virus-enhanced solar cells from MIT, which bring to mind Michael Crichton’s superbly chilling science thriller, Prey.