Solar power? It’s expensive and takes up loads of space
Not so the Beta.ey from Barcelona-based startup Rawlemon. It’s a desktop-sized device that can be yours for as little as US$149 (£90), should you decide to back the company’s Indiegogo project.
What’s so special about it?
The Beta.ey uses a ball lens to focus sunlight (or even moonlight) onto a small solar cell. This type of lens is highly efficient, so it doesn’t need to be large and it can draw energy from diffused as well as direct light (i.e. sunlight that passes through cloud).
Not only that, Rawlemon has devised a dual motion-tracking system that allows the lens to move as the sun traverses the sky, ensuring it takes in more light.
What can it charge?
Rawlemon claims it can charge a smartphone one and a half times in a day. It doesn’t say which smartphone, mind you.
But Beta.ey is essentially just a proof of concept for a much larger ball lens device that could be built into skyscraper walls or installed on flat roofs in order to provide far larger amounts of free solar power.
Sold! When can I get one?
Back the Indiegogo campaign and you’ll receive a Beta.ey model later in the year (June is the projected date). Back it to the tune of US$6000 (£3670) and you will receive a metre-tall Beta.ray model to install in your garden or on your roof. This produces far more energy, which it stores in a battery.