I just read an article that discusses the concept of solar powered sunglasses. Yes, you heard that right. No longer are solar panels strictly limited to building rooftops or public vehicles. The technology is now being incorporated into a plethora of items, including sunglasses (not Matrix Sunglasses though…sorry!)!
Two designers from Japan have created sunglasses that protect your eyes from the harmful UV rays of the sun while concurrently converting these UV rays into electrical energy. The shades are called Self-Energy Converting sunglasses, and they are equipped with unique solar-converting lenses that contain dye sensitized solar cells (DSC). This unique lens technology provides solar power that can be accessed by plugging your iPod, cell phone, battery charger, or any other small accessory into a power outlet embedded within the frame.
DSC involves a photovoltaic technology that captures the sunrays, and traps the ensuing release of electrons to produce the electrical power. Although the shades do not provide a ton of electricity, they definitely provide enough to enable you to power up a small electronic device for several hours. It’s a very practical idea when you think about it, especially considering the increasingly inter-connected nature of our society.
Unfortunately the sunglasses are not yet on the market, so if you want to go out and get yourself a pair you’ll have to wait. There is no definitive word on when they will be available to purchase, or how much they might cost. However, I do know that the sunglasses are not expensive to produce because the underlying technology is enabled by a cheap, all-natural lens dye. In other words, it is the dye that is coated on the lenses that contains the DSC technology. Thus, I would expect these shades to hit the market at a price point south of $100. Of course that is only a guess, so we’ll just have to wait and see how this all pans out.