CES 2024: Solar-powered headphones, city car and rooftop tent shine bright in Las Vegas


Solar-powered devices and gadgets are making massive strides for a more sustainable future. Here is our pick of those turning heads at CES 2024.

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Sustainability is, as ever, an increasingly dominant theme at all technology conferences, and the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year is no different.

But rather than just electric vehicles (EVs) on display, as well as hydrogen offerings, solar power also demonstrated its prowess in Las Vegas.

Here is how solar energy stole the show.

Ambient Photonics: Constant power to indoor and outdoor electronics

The US start-up Ambient Photonics showed off its new solar cell, which can provide constant power from indoor and ambient outdoor light, which the company says can deliver three times more power than existing technologies.

The tech could be used to replace billions of batteries in home gadgets, like TV remotes and wireless keyboards.

“Batteries are dead and indoor light is the future power source for billions of connected devices,” the company said.

“Ambient photonics cells are built for real-world, low-light applications. They use revolutionary new molecules and manufacturing processes to harness indoor and outdoor ambient light and create an endless power source”.

Powerfoyle: Solar-powered headphones

The Swedish clean technology start-up Exeger unveiled its new solar cell technology, which uses a light material to convert all types of light, even ambient light, into energy.

The material, called Powerfoyle, is the world’s only fully customisable solar cell and it can be used in almost everything.

Exeger partnered with Adidas and Philips to deliver solar-powered headphones, which use the solar material on the headband and you never need to charge.

The company even made a stylish bag made of Powerfoyle, which can charge devices when put inside. The bag is not available for purchase but shows the potential of what the technology can do.

The Swedish company also showed off a powerful ear protector in a pair of headphones in its partnership with 3M.

It works using solar cells on the headband and is useful for those working in noisy environments, such as oil rigs and construction sites. It costs around €700, the company said.

“The perception of available energy is changing, how by light. It is everywhere and it is around us and we’re dependent on that,” Exeger founder Giovanni Fili told Euronews Next.

“And now we’re going to use it to power our devices too. So this is a big year for Exeger”.

The Squad: Solar-powered city car

While no one has cracked designing a car powered entirely by solar, one company from the Netherlands is offering a promising alternative.

The Squad, a solar city car by Squad Mobility, costs only around €8,500 and is a very compact car to drive in cities.

It can drive around 30 km a day in a sunny city like Las Vegas without needing a charge but also uses electric energy.

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This is particularly useful if you live in cities with fewer hours of sunlight; in these places, the car can drive about 22 km without needing to be charged.

“In Holland, the winter is pretty bad for solar energy, so in winter you, you have to charge now and then, and in the summer you probably don’t have to,” Robert Hoevers, CEO and co-founder of Squad Mobility told Euronews Next.

The compact car weighs 350 kg and can reach speeds of 40 km/h.

“We get a lot of requests from food delivery companies servicing repair companies and medical companies that are looking for inner city mobility solutions for easy parking and easy charging,” said Hoevers.

Jackery: The solar rooftop tent

Californian solar company Jackery unveiled its Solar Generator Rooftop Tent and, as the name suggests, it looks like it could be used on another planet.

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It is an automatic sunflower-shaped solar tracker with 600 W retractable solar wings that fits onto your car.

The idea is that if you spend time off the road, you can harness the power of the Sun to power up your coffee-making devices, air fryers, microwave ovens, and so on.

You can also turn it into a tent after you fold away the solar panels.

You can get up to 1,000 W of solar power per day, according to Jackery.

“It’s more to help with the off-road lifestyle. Companies don’t have the technology to create a fully solar-powered car yet. But right now, this is for an off-grid lifestyle,” Kevin Chen, content manager at Jackery told Euronews Next.

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The product is a concept for the moment, but Jackery says it could go into production at the end of this year.



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2024-01-12 06:00:47

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