Whether you’re in the middle of an important phone call, or listening to music to drown out that fussy toddler, mobile phones and mp3 players tend to die at the most inopportune times. Scottish audio engineer Andrew Anderson aims to transform the way mobile devices are charged with his OnBeat Solar Headphones.
“As you know, smartphones and tablets are now a key part of our lives. We rely on them day and night for keeping up to date with what’s going on in the world, contacting friends and family, listening to music, watching videos,” Anderson said. “All that constant usage drains battery. That’s why over the last year we’ve been developing our headphones.”
The OnBeat Solar Headphones incorporate a flexible solar panel wrapped around the outer layer of the headphones to harness the sun’s energy. That energy is stored in two rechargeable lithium ion batteries that are placed in each ear cup. “These batteries are then used to charge any smartphone or tablet via USB port, making these headphones compatible with thousands of devices,” Anderson said.
OnBeat has launched a Kickstarter fundraising campaign, in the hopes of raising £200,000 (that’s currently almost $304,000 USD). The money will be used to start manufacturing the solar headphones and produce the first 2,500 pairs.
With a solar cell surface area of 55 cm3 the headphones contain a charge capacity of about 0.55W. It’s still unclear the amount of energy the solar headphones are capable of generating. Since the solar panel surface is curved around the shape of your head, it will not be fully exposed to the sun, which can hinder its energy production, according to Tech Crunch.
The energy produced from the solar headphones will be able to charge a mobile phone, tablet or mp3 player through a USB port. With a “stylish and lightweight design” the headphones contain an inline microphone on the cable for phone calls and music voice control. “For rainy days, there’s also a charging cable to charge the headphone batteries from a main power supply,” Anderson said. This means that the headphones can also be charged by plugging them into the wall.
Those who pledge £69 ($105 USD) toward the Kickstarter program can receive a discounted pair of OnBeat Solar Headphones as supplies last. An additional fee of £20 ($30 USD) will be charged to ship the solar headphones outside the United Kingdom.
The company anticipates that the solar headphones will begin shipping in February of 2014, and will be available for public purchase shortly thereafter.