Baz Luhrmann once said “If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it.” As the earth gets warmer, we need to become more protected, but also, the importance of solar energy grows. Here are some hot new and old solar inventions:
1. Moser Lamps
Created by Brazilian mechanic Alfred Moser, these lamps are actually just plastic bottles filled with water and bleach. Yet when installed in the roof of a house, the lamps produce light with a strength of 40 to 60 watts, which is stronger than some light bulbs, according to the New York Daily News. Sunlight refracts through the bottles to make them glow like lamps, providing a cheap and renewable source of light to poor families all over the world.
Skylock has a built-in solar panel that, according to the company, will provide enough power for a week after just one hour of charging. Skylock uses Bluetooth technology so owners can unlock their bikes using a smartphone; it also has a whole bunch of security features, such as alerting people if their bike is being tampered with or alert the authorities if you get into an accident.
3. Samsung Blue Earth Solar Phone
In Blue Earth, Samsung eliminated several toxic materials and built the casing from both renewable and recycled plastic. And the big draw: the integrated solar panel. Expose the panel to one hour of sun for 10 minutes of talk, and to 12 hours of sun (a much taller order) for a full four hours of chatting. Samsung says the solar panel increases the phone’s energy efficiency by 34.6%.
Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the solar-powered Blue Earth is that it’s not skimpy on technology: This green-ish phone has a full-color touchscreen. It also has a built-in “Eco-walk” pedometer function that counts your steps and tells you how much CO2 you’re saving by walking instead of driving.
4. Solar-Powered LCD
This LED-backlit 52-incher you see above comes attached to a not-at-all convenient solar floor panel which presumably provides at least some of the energy required to power this thing. We’ve no clue how close the design is to being viable for the commercial realm, but we’d say Sharp’s definitely headed in the right direction here.
5. Solar-Powered Tents
Here’s one for the glampers. Inspired by England’s Glastonbury Music Festival, design and engineering company Kaleidoscope teamed up with telecommunications company Orange to create a concept for a tent that powers mobile devices — and itself. The tent, which would feature three banks of photovoltaic cells and fit four people, was designed to soak up sun during the day and illuminate itself at night, even generating surplus energy for vendors’ carts, sound equipment, and more according to the manufacturers.