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The Sunglasses Of The Future May Solar Power Our Electronics

By Nicole Caldwell

A new pair of sunglasses is capable of measuring ambient temperature and sun radiation, while collecting enough solar energy to potentially power a step counter, hearing aid, or making scenes from sci-fi movies like Minority Report and Total Recall a reality... eventually.

The “Solar Glasses” were developed by a team led by Alexander Colsmann of the Organic Photovoltaics Working Group at the Lichttechnisches Institut of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). Lenses have solar cells built into them that power frames containing microprocessors and two displays that provide read-outs on the sun’s strength and temperature.

Organic solar cells will expand the way we harness the sun. 

The secret to the technology is utilizing organic solar cells. Unlike the commercial solar panels we see on roofs, solar cells are comprised of carbon-based polymers and organic molecules that convert sunlight to electricity through the photovoltaic effect.