Computers? Going solar?

That’s actually not new news since a calculator is technically a hand-held computer that processes your input into information; many of which have been solar-powered since the mid-1900s.

Today, besides the calculator, many more advanced devices and computers are adopting solar designs as a power source.

As mentioned in prior posts, solar is the wave of the future. From powering a small intelligent device we call a calculator to powering our electrical appliances and heating systems in our homes and cars, solar is taking new strides into other fields.

What do I mean?

At the recent Consumers Electronic Show (CES) held in Las Vegas, several solar-powered devices debuted for the world to view.

There are two that will be mentioned specifically in this post. Both are related to tablets.

One Laptop Per Child

The laptop/tablet was delivered by a foundation known as One Laptop Per Child.

Their goal? To service communities located in areas that do not have a reliable source of energy due to the distance from the grid. This same foundation has developed many alternatively-powered devices that require manual cranking for backup use such as a bicycle generator.

So where does solar come into play with this foundation? One Laptop Per Child has designed a new addition to their line of computerized gizmos – a tablet. The tablet consists of a covering that not only protects the laptop from damage, but also harnesses solar energy to run the tablet with a 4-Watt solar cell.

This is One Laptop Per Child’s ingenious attempt to provide a powered device that is environmentally friendly and independent of grid powering.

In the case that the solar cell does not capture enough solar power conversion, a backup battery is also installed in the design. If charged for 2 hours, the tablet is said to remain functional for up to 4 hours of use.

As another form of backup aside from the battery, a hand crank is available to manually charge the tablet.

Below is a video I stumbled upon that captured a demo of the prototype tablet featured at the CES event:

Pretty cool? I think so.

Solar Powered Kindle Cover

Another product debut at the CES event was presented by SolarFocus, a company located in Taiwan that makes solar panels for mobile devices.

They too, have designed a cover specifically for the Kindle. The cover consists of solar panels that essentially charge the Kindle’s battery reserve. This functions to power the LED reading light and, if needed, the Kindle itself.

Going for a tan? If you let the Kindle tan with you for an hour, it may treat you to up to three hours of good reading time.

With the world going solar one step at a time, what’s next?