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British scientists have developed a pioneering ‘smart glass’ material to replace the screens on phones, smartwatches and tablets which uses no power. The discovery is significant as illuminating the display on a device currently drains around 90 per cent of its battery.
Oxford University engineer, Dr Peiman Hosseini, 32, told a Sunday newspaper: “You have to charge smartwatches every night. But if you had a smartwatch or smart glass that didn’t need much power, you could recharge it just once a week."
With the growing popularity of smartwatches, gadget firms are desperate to solve the age-old problem of limited battery life.
Apple is currently investigating using fuel cells to power its phones and laptops, and was granted a patent for a system it claimed could power devices for weeks earlier this year.
But Dr Hosseini’s company, Bodle Technologies, suggest tackling the main drain on a device’s power may be a better solution. The smart glass uses electrical pulses to generate vibrant displays that require no power and can be viewed clearly, even in direct sunlight. Bodle aims to have a prototype within a year.
Dr Hosseini explained the material can also be used to create smart windows, a market set to be worth around $2bn by 2017. This would lessen the need for air conditioning in buildings as the smart glass can block infrared waves to keep rooms cool, saving up to 20 per cent on energy bills.
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