Users won't tolerate the idea of their mobile devices running out of battery power, leaving them isolated from the world. Since no cure has been found for cellphone withdrawal and electronics manufactures haven't created everlasting batteries, some designers are creating solar-powered solutions to complement the increasing use of mobile devices outdoors.
Solartab Ltd., a startup of London; UK; and Shenzhen, China, thought about bringing to the market a product with smart clean-tech design in the form of a solar charger for tablets and smartphones unlike any other. EBN talked with Solartab's founders to get a closer look.
Brainstorming the Solartab's design.
Solar energy revolution for mobile devices on the go
The Solartab is a portable and powerful dual source of energy for electronic devices. It was born by combining beautiful, minimalistic Scandinavian design with a focus on green energy, sustainability, and convenience. Built in an aluminum frame, it counts with a powerful battery to keep mobile devices charged for as long as today's mobile life demands. Now iPads can be charged even while being used. "The Solartab sets itself apart via its large solar panel and a powerful internal battery," says Eskil Vestre, one of Solartab's co-founders.
The Solartab is 9.7 x 7.6 inches when closed and weighs approximately 400 grams. The lithium-polymer battery has a capacity of 13,000mAh, and the monocrystalline silicon solar panel has a nominal power of at least 5Wp and an efficiency of at least 21%. It comes with two USB ports and a micro USB port for wall charging, a row of five green LED internal battery indicators, one green LED charging indicator for each USB and micro USB, and one bright-white LED to indicate solar charging.
The integrated, water-resistant cover is made of high polyurethane, which protects the device and also works as a stand for the solar panel to achieve maximum efficiency. "Other chargers may have some kind of system to angle the solar panel, so that's not necessarily new, but having an integrated cover both working as a stand and cover is rather unique," says Matt Einberger, who works in the field of renewable energies and is one of Solartab's co-founders. An elastic band and strong magnets keep the cover firmly closed. The Solartab includes a 2.1A wall charger (US or EU/UK) and a USB to micro-USB charging cable.
Designing the Solartab. (Source: Solartab)
With a successful Kickstarter campaign, the expected funding of $30,000 escalated to a total of $61,419. The massive global interest in this solar charger anticipates the Solartab will be a winner on the market. The first Solartabs will ship in July after two months of manufacturing and assembly in Shenzhen, China, where the team has moved for the entire manufacturing process for close, personal supervision. Solartab's manufacturing partner's experience in IC design for solar chargers will help ensure performance. After the first shipment is completed in July, anyone will be able to pre-order the Solartab exclusively from the Solartab website later this year.
According to Simon Methi, Solartab co-founder working with product development and sourcing, the unique and integrated cover allows the solar panel in the Solartab to be angled for optimal charging efficiency:
Flat solar chargers will only work at maximum efficiency when the sun is directly above, which is usually not the case. By angling the solar panel in the Solartab in three different angles we can get up to a 30 percent increase in efficiency. This means that the Solartab will actually deliver the 20 percent solar efficiency we promise.
Watch the video below to see how the Solartab works:
The Solartab team, Matt Einberger, Eskil Vestre, and Simon Methi, met while studying in East Asia. Sharing a passion for design, technology, and sustainable energies created the Solartab as the result of trying to find more environmentally friendly solutions to meet the increasing energy needs in a sustainable way.
The power consumption of previous generation of products is proving unsustainable and energy and charging innovation are becoming critical. Electronics manufacturers need to look to these new technologies to forge a path for responsible energy use. As Gandhi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world."