This week marked an amazing fusion of solar and computer technological advancements as two companies announced the release of solar-powered keyboards.
The two products, however, are very different. Logitech announced on Monday the release of its K750 wireless solar keyboard that charges up inside or out in natural or ambient light.
AU Optronics on Wednesday announced the imminent release of its fully-integrated solar laptop keyboard.
“The two products are different ideas and applications,” Katie Chen, AUO corporate communications representative from Taiwan, wrote in an e-mail interview. “The AUO solution combines touch panel and solar module, with much larger surface area to absorb sunlight. People can carry the solar notebook anywhere they like, at anytime.”
The AUO keyboard does look like a solar sheet with the outline of a keyboard imprinted on it, according to reports.
While it will perform best in sunlight, the AUO keyboard, like Logitechs, will charge up in ambient light indoors as well, according to reports.
One advantage the AUO keyboard boasts over Logitechs, however, is its ability to charge the laptop computer.
“The solar power is the backup battery to replace a part of power,” Chen writes. “But in the future, the charging efficiency will increase depending on different solar cell materials.”
This innovation could be the first in an evolutionary chain leading to a fully solar-powered laptop, Chen suggests.
AUO has partnered with SunPower, the largest manufacturer of traditional photovoltaic solar panels in the United States.
The companies announced last month that they had achieved high efficiency in the solar cells produced at their newest plant, nearly 23 percent.
AUO produces computers, televisions and solar panels. This is one of the first integrations of the companys efforts to hit the commercial market.
“AUO pursues green energy and carbon reduction as a green-service provider,” Chen writes. “The company is already working as a vertical integrator in the PV industry for solar energy solutions. Therefore, we keep a bright eye on designing and creating innovative green products.”
The solar-powered keyboard and laptop are not yet available on the consumer market, but will be displayed at the FPD International in Chiba, Japan next week.