While there are plenty of solar-powered peripherals that plug into your laptop to boost its battery power, we haven’t yet seen a model that runs solely on solar. Industrial Designer Andrea Ponti‘s concept for the Luce Solar Panel Powered PC could become the greenest laptop ever made.
The computer has two solar panels: One on the back of the monitor and one underneath a touch keyboard. Ideally, the two panels would be able to power the computer continuously, though it’s unclear whether this has been successfully tested. Using a laptop in the sun is far more battery intensive than indoors since the screen brightness needs to be cranked up to compete with the sun’s bright light.
One solution could be to use an electronic ink display in place of the usual backlit flat panel. Although the laptop includes a battery, the cordless design means your productivity will plummet in the evening — at least until you reach for another digital device.
The Luce, which means light in Italian, is made from a clear polycarbonate and weighs about four pounds. It was shortlisted in Fujitsu’s 2011 design competition.
There’s no word on whether Fujitsu plans to turn Ponti’s design into reality, but either way they’re not the only ones thinking about integrating sunlight into computer design. Last year Apple filed a patent for “harnessing external light to illuminate a display screen.”
In Apple’s vision, a reflector could fold down to brighten the display, and the company is rumored to be looking at integrating solar cells as well.