It’s such a simple and yet clever idea we wonder why no-one else has come up with it. Where is the best place to put a solar panel to charge your gadgets? Why on top of your head of course, because it’s usually facing in the right direction skywards (unless you’re an acrobat of course). Well an enterprising Scottish company has taken that basic physics data to heart and created the world’s first multi-function headphones with an inbuilt solar charger.
We recently caught up with the trio responsible for this leap of imagination, Frank and Andy Anderson and Sam Jones, and had a chat about the product, which is due to hit the shelves next year at around Â£90 to Â£100 retail. The OnBeat Solar Headphones feature a standard 20Hz to 20KHz headphone set, but inside the ear cups there are two 1000mAh Li-Ion rechargeable batteries, with 5.5v output for doing the charging. The headband also sports a 55 sq cm active solar panel, which the team claims will provide you with enough power to keep your phone charged up from sunlight.
The unit I saw definitely worked as a charger on my phone (as you can see from the indicator light on the picture and in the video below), but that was almost certainly from the battery packs in the headset, although the assembled gentlemen assured me it would charge up even if there was no direct sun available.
Our previous experience of this sort of solar product has shown that the amount of charge you get from this kind of small solar panel is so minuscule as to provide, at most, a trickle to top up your batteries, so we’ll reserve our judgment on this device until it’s been properly tested in the field.
For now, they’ve got a nice idea, and it remains to be seen just how useful the charging functionality will be when it finally reaches production. The team have apparently submitted it to Kickstarter, but we can’t find the project anywhere, so maybe they’ve decided to go it alone.