Designer Marjan van Aubel’s Current project, based on photosynthesis, uses a solar-powered table to charge electronics.
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The project grew from designer Marjan van Aubel's previous work on The Energy Collection, a cabinet with solar cell tableware, itself born out of in-depth research into the properties of color. Van Aubel collaborated with Michael Graetzel and Solaronix to develop applications for their dye-sensitized solar cells, technology that has been around for a few years, but is just starting to be fully utilized.
Utilizing a dye-sensitised solar cell, which absorbs light in a fashion similar to chlorophyll in a plant, the Current Table generates energy that can charge devices and appliances through a series of USB ports. What makes the Current so futuristic is it’s ability to generate an electrical current from indoor light, not just sunlight, so it literally harvests energy indoors.
Right now, the table has four batteries per USB port and they can take about eight hours to fully charge, depending on the light strength in the room -- it would take a full day’s charge to replenish your iPhone battery. But the technology will only get better.
“The future possibilities are endless,” says van Aubel, “from entire libraries, restaurants and meeting rooms. They could all be furnished with these surfaces, allowing people to charge their phones during a meeting or dinner. Utility and aesthetics are combined via the use of solar energy in everyday objects.”