Apple Looking Towards Solar Energy Charging For Its Devices
As PatentlyApple reports, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a new power management system that will work with both a power adapter and seamlessly with a portable solar panel accessory for busy people on the go. Apple’s engineers are thinking big with their on-site solar power now creating the energy equivalent to powering 17,600 homes a year.
The experience that Apple’s engineers are gaining with working with solar panels is filtering through to creating a power management system for future Macs and iDevices. Apple has already been granted seven solar power patents thus far and you could review most of them in our Green Technology Archives.
Today’s patent goes one step further than most by introducing us to a solar power panel accessory for mobile devices like a MacBook or iPhone that won’t require a power converter. Apple’s system may be closer to reality than first thought considering that Apple’s senior power design engineer noted as the inventor of this system has been snatched by Samsung within the last year.
Apple’s USPTO patent filing describes a method for supplying power to components in an electronic device comprised of a power management system which accepts power from a solar panel and supplies it to the components without using a converter circuit between the solar panel and the power management system.
The power management system includes a system microcontroller (SMC) and a charger. During operation, the power management system accepts power from at least one of a power adapter and a solar panel.
The solution negates the need for bulky power converters (see the image above) which are engineered to take the varying voltage generated by a solar panel (which varies with the amount of sunlight) to provide the specific voltage required by a device.
The patent does offer hope to all the smartphone and notebook owners who always seem to run out of juice before the day is over.