|The Window Socket - A New Pain or extra Pane Charges?
Stick the Solar-Powered Window Socket on Glass and Watch it Charge: Here’s a design that rivals the light bulb in its ingenuity: the Window Socket. The disc-like socket designed by the Korean duo Kyuho Song and Boah Oh has a base of mini solar panels and a suction cup that ensures effective adhesion to virtually any transparent glass surface that is exposed to the sun. The panels absorb solar energy, which is then converted into electric energy by an embedded converter.
“This product is designed to enable you to use electricity freely and conveniently in a space restricted by the use of electricity such as in a plane, a car or outdoors,” according to Song and Oh’s design brief on Yanko. “Thus this product was designed to draw a socket used indoors outdoors. We tried to design a portable socket so that users can use it intuitively without special training.” It doesn’t get more simple that sticking the window socket on a pane of glass and watch it (or not) while it charges for five to eight hours.
Once completely charged to 1000 mAh, it stays charged for up to ten hours. Although we’re not in love with the plastic components (who needs more plastic in the world), the Window Socket impresses us as a fantastic solution for nomads, off-grid dwellers or other people living alternative lives. It would also make a great backup for small appliances and phones during power outages like those we experience so regularly in Egypt and Lebanon.
|Could future power be more personal and off the grid?
Solar outlet gives power from your windows: Your window might be an unlikely place to plug-in your smartphone, but a team of designers has made that possible with a novel take on the portable electronics charger. Industrial designers Kyuho Song & Boa Oh created a solar charger called the Window Socket that suctions onto glass and converts solar energy to function like an electrical socket. The units also contain a 1,000mAh battery, which is equivalent to a smartphone’s lithium-ion. The battery takes 5-8 hours to get fully charged.
“This product is intended to enabled you to use electricity freely and conveniently in a space restricted in the use of electricity, such as in a plane, a car, and outdoors,” the inventors wrote in a design brief. “Thus, this product was meant to draw out a socket used indoors outward. We tried to design a portable socket, so that users can use it intuitively without special training.”
News about the invention was published in Yanko Design on Friday. The Window Socket appears to use the Korean specification for wall outlets, but could become more widely available in the future, the environmental news Web site Grist speculates. Note that there’s one downside: the charge only lasts for 10 hours. The designers do not appear to have created a product Web site with any further information.
An immediately available product is the “OffGrid” solar backpack by New York startup Voltaic Systems. They are available in a variety of styles, with either built-in or detachable solar cells. The solar charger powers an internal battery that connects to devices via an integrated USB port for an output of up to 4 Watts.
A less conventional alternative comes from another New York startup, SiGNa Chemistry, a maker of miniaturized fuel cells. All that’s required to power your smartphone is a tiny chemical hydrogen cartridge and some water, or even urine. The liquid initiates a chemical reaction that generates power instantly.
Plug It On The Window: The Window Socket offers a neat way to harness solar energy and use it as a plug socket. So far we have seen solutions that act as a solar battery backup, but none as a direct plug-in. Simple in design, the plug just attaches to any window and does its job intuitively.