Solar-powered phone screen could boost battery life

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A French startup is testing a transparent panel that would use solar energy to increase cell phone battery life by 20 percent. SunPartner Group hopes to see its Wysips panels appear in cell phones beginning next year. At less than half a millimeter thick, they are unobtrusive and can be built into a phone or placed on top of an existing screen.

Wysips won’t replace products like Mophie’s Juice Pack Air case, which can double an iPhone’s battery life, but at a few dollars each they are an especially cheap option. They collect power with strips of thin solar cells. These are covered with a layer of lenses that render the cells nearly invisible while concentrating solar energy. Without any external accessory or charger, phones could use idle time to recharge with natural or artificial light — and even recover from a dead battery.

A boost from the sun would be especially useful…

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