1. Scrapegoat's Avatar
    Ok, So I've been sitting here for a couple of hours browsing the playbook forum mostly. A couple of big bottles of Heineken and I'm feeling pretty mellow and relaxed and I was reading posts comparing PB battery life and Ipad when I had a bit of an epiphany (damn but it hurt)

    I noticed recently that Nook? or Kindle Fire brought out some photovoltaic/solar cell cover thingy that uses ambient/sunlight to provide extra charge to the device and it occurred to me that it might also be possible on PB?

    Some people have also mentioned that they would like to see the bezels on PB made narrower to provide more screen real estate and I was thinking that perhaps that bezel area could be better utilised if photovoltaic cells were laid under it, thereby providing a continuous trickle charge to the batteries and significantly extending the battery life between charges, much like those little pocket calculators that have the little solar cell that uses solar and ambient artificial light to power the device. .

    Now, I apologise up front if this is a stupid and unworkable suggestion,(please be kind to this old dog) I'm certainly no engineer in this area and am quite clueless, however, if it's possible, does it have any merit?

    To RIM or any other tablet manufacturer, if it is possible and adopted, I can be contacted here for my personal and banking details regarding royalty payments etc etc
    Last edited by Scrapegoat; 01-29-12 at 04:59 AM.
    01-29-12 04:32 AM
  2. tharrison4815's Avatar
    I think it was announced recently that someone created a photovoltaic technology that can be placed in displays to recycle unused light (as LCDs work by blocking the backlight to control the brightness of pixels) and also function as a traditional solar panel at the same time. So in this case more screen and less bezel would be better.

    I would love to see something like this in devices. Even if it only improved the battery performance by 10%. It just makes sense to me to cover every conceivable surface in solar cells.
    01-29-12 05:19 AM
  3. Scrapegoat's Avatar
    I think it was announced recently that someone created a photovoltaic technology that can be placed in displays to recycle unused light (as LCDs work by blocking the backlight to control the brightness of pixels) and also function as a traditional solar panel at the same time. So in this case more screen and less bezel would be better.

    I would love to see something like this in devices. Even if it only improved the battery performance by 10%. It just makes sense to me to cover every conceivable surface in solar cells.
    Wow, sweet. I didn't mention photovoltaic cells under the actual display because I thought that would be impossible and might affect the actual display, however the bezel seemed like some dead area that could benefit from this idea.

    It's awesome to hear your take on the situation and certainly leads me to believe that this idea might be plausible. Just gotta sit back now and wait for these tablet manufacturers to start approaching me with offers of cash to start using this idea. hahahahahahahahahahaha.......... I reckon I'll be waiting a long time LOL
    01-29-12 05:32 AM
  4. Innovatology's Avatar
    Current solar cell technology produces so little energy that the effect would be hardly measurable for a device like the PlayBook. You'd need a panel much larger than the PlayBook in bright, direct summer sunlight for it to make a difference. And that may not be very good for your PlayBook.
    kennyliu likes this.
    01-29-12 05:51 AM
  5. Scrapegoat's Avatar
    Current solar cell technology produces so little energy that the effect would be hardly measurable for a device like the PlayBook. You'd need a panel much larger than the PlayBook in bright, direct summer sunlight for it to make a difference. And that may not be very good for your PlayBook.
    Thanks for that feedback. I also had my doubts that current technology would be able to provide a meaningful enough charge in such a small area that would provide any worthwhile results.

    Oh well, on to my next million dollar idea LOL
    01-29-12 06:01 AM
  6. FF22's Avatar
    Current solar cell technology produces so little energy that the effect would be hardly measurable for a device like the PlayBook. You'd need a panel much larger than the PlayBook in bright, direct summer sunlight for it to make a difference. And that may not be very good for your PlayBook.
    Ah but taking your idea and combining it with the tinfoil hats mentioned when we worry about privacy, we could don a solar-cell cap and generate power!
    01-29-12 10:02 AM
  7. dugggggg's Avatar
    Current solar cell technology produces so little energy that the effect would be hardly measurable for a device like the PlayBook. You'd need a panel much larger than the PlayBook in bright, direct summer sunlight for it to make a difference.
    Actually that's not quite true. The PB measures 19x13 cm---about 0.025 m. Full sun generates about 1000 watts/m, so a solar panel the size of the PB could produce 25 watts if it had 100% efficiency. Even at 12%, it could produce the 3 watts the PB typically requires to operate.

    That said, the unused bezel area is much smaller---and would be subject to constant partial shading as hands move over the screen.

    But a detached panel, perhaps very light and thin, with a USB connector, could do the trick nicely. Such panels are already available.
    01-29-12 11:36 AM
  8. Andrew4life's Avatar
    But a detached panel, perhaps very light and thin, with a USB connector, could do the trick nicely. Such panels are already available.
    This is assuming you're using your playbook when it sunny outside and you have a place to set up this detached panel.

    From my experience, I use it on the subway (no sun), on my bed at night (no sun), at my workplace (no sun), on the streetcar (limited sun if any), at a friends house (no sun).

    Of the 3 out of 5, it would be a lot easier to just hook up my playbook to a usb or power outlet.

    The reason solar panels aren't used in a portable manner, is because even in optimal conditions (solar panel farms, roof top set ups). They take years to pay back their initial cost. You might as well get a portable USB battery instead. I guarantee it will work a lot better than any sort of solar panel at the current level of photo voltaic technology.
    01-29-12 07:23 PM
  9. kennyliu's Avatar
    Btw, does anyone know if there is any commercially viable new battery technology being developed that will be better than the current Li-Ion and Li-Polymer batteries in terms of capacity?
    01-29-12 07:33 PM
  10. amro's Avatar
    Current solar cell technology produces so little energy that the effect would be hardly measurable for a device like the PlayBook. You'd need a panel much larger than the PlayBook in bright, direct summer sunlight for it to make a difference. And that may not be very good for your PlayBook.
    not so current technology kept a multitude of electronic devices charged over the course of 3 weeks while i was in a pacific ocean yacht race. several mp3 players, cameras, and aa/aaa batteries for portable gps were all kept topped up by a 4.4 watt solar charging system. even recharged our cell phones ahead of landfall so we could contact our shore team.

    the effective area of the solar panel wasn't much bigger than a playbook. this was a few years ago, so solar cell advances would probably reduce the needed area to less than the playbook face. can easily be built into a case, or the front cover like an otterbox, and use the magnetic charging port.
    01-29-12 08:18 PM
  11. FF22's Avatar
    Btw, does anyone know if there is any commercially viable new battery technology being developed that will be better than the current Li-Ion and Li-Polymer batteries in terms of capacity?
    Can't YOU plug the pb into your avatar?
    01-29-12 09:06 PM
  12. kennyliu's Avatar
    Can't YOU plug the pb into your avatar?
    I wish I could but I don't really want to put a plutonium-powered Playbook in my briefcase. I'll wait for a cold fusion variant of it
    01-29-12 09:41 PM
  13. peter9477's Avatar
    Btw, does anyone know if there is any commercially viable new battery technology being developed that will be better than the current Li-Ion and Li-Polymer batteries in terms of capacity?
    I've been reading a few articles lately about various techniques, not yet commercially viable but possibly to become so within about 5 years, which would give very significant boosts... like 10x. These have been about the same basic technology (e.g. LiPo), but different ways of manufacturing them, sometimes bordering on nano-tech stuff.

    Hard to judge how likely it is without being deep into the science, but sounds promising anyway.
    kennyliu likes this.
    01-29-12 09:44 PM
  14. kennyliu's Avatar
    I've been reading a few articles lately about various techniques, not yet commercially viable but possibly to become so within about 5 years, which would give very significant boosts... like 10x. These have been about the same basic technology (e.g. LiPo), but different ways of manufacturing them, sometimes bordering on nano-tech stuff.

    Hard to judge how likely it is without being deep into the science, but sounds promising anyway.
    10x sounds great. Granted power hungry hardware and software (e.g. UI) don't catch up, we will have Playbook X running for a couple weeks, Kindle 7 running for a year, and finally smartphones that run a few days on one charge .
    01-29-12 11:59 PM
  15. Innovatology's Avatar
    But a detached panel, perhaps very light and thin, with a USB connector, could do the trick nicely. Such panels are already available.
    I tested some last summer. Perhaps I tried the wrong panels, but anything less than an A3 sized (caravan-rooftop-style) panel was unable to make a meaningful difference to the charge in my PlayBook.

    Granted, the summers here aren't the best, but it was sunny, clear, 25 centigrade. The A4-sized one I left for 8 hours, pointing south, and the PB battery level was 3% lower. I took it back to the store and got the A3-sized one the next day. It managed to charge 6% in 8 hours. I returned that one too. In both cases the PB was on stand-by. I don't remember the specs, sorry.
    01-30-12 12:54 AM
  16. TheScionicMan's Avatar
    They should add the motion charging that some watches have. That way you could charge the battery while you play NFS...

    Maybe a crank handle built into the back case...
    kennyliu likes this.
    01-30-12 01:04 AM
  17. kennyliu's Avatar
    They should add the motion charging that some watches have. That way you could charge the battery while you play NFS...

    Maybe a crank handle built into the back case...
    Or something like this :
    01-30-12 01:14 AM
  18. Scrapegoat's Avatar
    Hahahahahaha, well if nothing else, at least this thread is provoking some interesting and lively discussion
    01-30-12 02:34 AM
  19. phoreoneone's Avatar
    wow, sweet. I didn't mention photovoltaic cells under the actual display because i thought that would be impossible and might affect the actual display, however the bezel seemed like some dead area that could benefit from this idea.

    It's awesome to hear your take on the situation and certainly leads me to believe that this idea might be plausible. Just gotta sit back now and wait for these tablet manufacturers to start approaching me with offers of cash to start using this idea. Hahahahahahahahahahaha.......... I reckon i'll be waiting a long time lol

    quick, run to the closest patent office !!!
    then you can sit back and count the money
    Last edited by phoreoneone; 01-30-12 at 03:18 AM.
    01-30-12 02:51 AM
LINK TO POST COPIED TO CLIPBOARD