Read a mention of solar powered battery chargers in Profit Magazine the other day. That got me thinking about the vast potential that such devices hold. Then I saw my local Shopko carrying 8 solar lamps for $30 and I realized that solar energy is making silent but pervasive inroads in our day to day lives. We already have widespread use of solar water heaters back in Bangalore (India) where they are subsidized and cut a big chunk off electicity bills.
Upon further digging, I found this informative write-up of how solar lamps work. The authors write how solar energy was still out of reach for most consumers at the time of writing that article. We seem to have made tremendous progress in a short time – check out this travel solar battery charger that retails for $15 and is convenient enough to tuck into your backpack.
This may ultimaltely lead to the realization of one of my topics of interest – “wireless power”. We have freed the laptop of almost all cords and cables and now the only leash that tethers us to a fixed spot is the need for power. If we were to figure our more efficient ways of tapping solar power and make laptops more economical in their power needs we might find the solution some day soon. Another wild idea for transferring power wirelessly is magnetic fields although I haven’t the slightest idea how that can be made viable.