Researchers have designed new smart sunglasses with semi-transparent organic solar cells that can generate electric power enough to operate devices such as hearing aids.
The invention can pave the way for other future applications such as the integration of organic solar cells into windows or overhead glazing, the researchers said.
The smart sunglasses designed as a case study by the scientists from Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT), is self-powered to measure and display the solar illumination intensity and ambient temperature.
The solar cell lenses, perfectly fitted to a commercial frame, have a thickness of approx. 1.6 millimeters and weigh about six grams — just like the lenses of traditional sunglasses.
The microprocessor and the two small displays are integrated into the temples of the Solar Glasses.
They show the illumination intensity and the ambient temperature as bar graphs.
The Solar Glasses also work in indoor environments under illumination down to 500 Lux, which is the usual illumination of an office or a living area.
Under these conditions, each of the “smart” lenses still generates 200 milliwatt of electric power — enough to operate devices such as a hearing aid or a step counter.
The solar cells, based on hydrocarbons, are very exciting devices due to their mechanical flexibility and the opportunity to adapt their color, transparency, shape, and size to the desired application.
These solar glasses can also be integrated into the glass facades of high-rise buildings. Organic solar modules can be used for transforming the absorbed light into electric power, the study added.