Apple patents solar-powered MacBook
A case made of switchable smart glass could appear both translucent and opaque
Computerworld - Apple today was awarded a patent for a MacBook that would be powered with solar cells (photovoltaics), meaning your laptop could be powered or at least recharged through light.
The inside of the lid would be a traditional display, while the rear is described as a plate made of "electrochromic glass" also known as "smart glass" or "switchable glass."
"Electrochromic glass, which is sometimes referred to as electrically switchable glass, may receive control signals (e.g., voltage control signals) from control circuitry," the patent submission states. "The control signals can be used to place electrochromic glass in either a transparent (light-passing) state or a translucent (light-blocking) state."
In the light-blocking state, the interior of the MacBook's display would be hidden from the exterior view; the rear panel would appear opaque or translucent.
In the light-passing state, the rear panel would appear clear and allow images or other light output from status light-emitting diodes or other light sources, Apple stated.
The solar cells would be placed under the electrochromic glass layer on the rear plate.
"For example, photovoltaic cells may be interposed between a glass layer (rear plate) and liquid crystal display structures for display," the patent states. Photo voltaic cells produce electricity when exposed to light.
When the laptop is near a light source, the light rays would pass through the electrochromic glass that forms the rear plate.
The solar cells would take in light as it passed through the glass, converting it into electrical power at a rate of 10 milliwatts or more.
Apple proposed that the solar cells would be capable of producing from 100 milliwatts to 1 watt "or even more" in order to charge the laptop's battery or power the computer while it is in use.
The rear smart glass could also be used to display Apple's logo by incorporating an additional light emitting diode layer as well as backlighting.
"To ensure that display is evenly illuminated, the back light unit that provides backlight for display... may be provided with light-emitting diodes that are arranged along more than one of the edges of the light guide layer in the back light unit," Apple stated.
Lucas Mearian covers consumer data storage, consumerization of IT, mobile device management, renewable energy, telematics/car tech and entertainment tech for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is email@example.com.
Read more about Emerging Technologies in Computerworld's Emerging Technologies Topic Center.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Shifting Gears: The Value of Customer-Driven Quality in Manufacturing In today's competitive manufacturing market, the customer must be the center of the quality universe. This paper details how manufacturers can improve customer...
- Aberdeen Group: Marketing Analytics for Manufacturing: Forging Customer Insights There are no recalls for poor marketing. Manufacturers need to get their customer intelligence and messaging right the first time. Learn how.
- Unlocking the Promise of Demand Sensing and Shaping through Big Data Analytics Many organizations have limited insight into big data. These limitations have significant opportunity costs and can have a negative effect on identifying and...
- The Brave New World of Customer-Centric Manufacturing The Unique Opportunity for Manufacturers to Better Understand their Consumers
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,... All Emerging Technologies White Papers | Webcasts