In a backers only update this week, the team at Carbon released drawings showing some more details on their proposed solar panel design. As you may recall, the team’s solar powered wristwatch had a solar panel barely large enough, at its best, to charge a 650mAh battery in 8 hours. We brought up concerns that creating a hole for the requisite watch movement to poke through the panel would require the panel to be split into a number of smaller panels as it’s impossible (or at least very hard) to drill a hole in a monocrystaline solar panel. This would reduce the effective size of the panel due to the gaps between the sections drawing into question the original 8 hour charge time spec.
“Energy harvesting” is a very attractive buzzphrase. The market for devices that can soak up unused energy and put it to work has been steadily growing over the past few years. Many wristwatches available today don’t need batteries or winding. They can glean energy from the motion of the user’s wrist or the light of the Sun.
A wristwatch is a fairly low-power device that lends itself to this kind of technology, but the Carbon wristwatch plans to do much more than just keep time. While the technology isn’t too farfetched, it’s the business decisions of the team that draw the potential success of this product into question.
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