Rawlemon's spherical lens solar generator got a lot of attention on the web a couple of years ago for its strikingly beautiful design, which made traditional solar panels look kind of frumpy in comparison. And while it may be some time before we see any type of commercial application for these glass orb solar concentrators, we may be able to put them to use charging our gadgets, as the company has been working on a small scale prototype, and is looking for backers to help launch the device.
The new charger, dubbed Beta.ey, uses the same type of technology found in the full-sized Rawlemon design, but is scaled down to a size appropriate for a window or desk, and is quite possibly the most beautiful solar charger around.
Unlike most smaller solar chargers, which use larger areas of solar cells in order to generate enough electricity to power smartphones and other mobile gadgets, the Beta.ey device takes a different approach, by concentrating the sun's rays on one tiny solar cell, measuring just 1 cm square.
The solid acrylic-polymer ball lens in the Beta.ey, combined with the company's dual-axis tracking system, concentrates the diffuse rays of the sun throughout the day onto a 1.6W multi-junction cell, which is said to be capable of fully charging a cellphone one and a half times per day. The system includes a USB port for direct charging, and a 27.5 watt-hour battery for storing the generated electricity. In addition to being a solar gadget charger, the Beta.ey also has two RGB color LED bulbs that can function as an "atmospheric lamp."
This project from Rawlemon is more than just a funky and functional solar charger for mobile devices, as it is also intended as further proof of concept of the company's work to get more power out of solar devices, without increasing their size. The project will also support the company's main goal, which is to be able to produce smarter and more efficient solar devices that are affordable for all.
The Beta.ey is currently the focus of a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, and backers at the $149 level will be the first to receive this 'crystal ball' solar charger.