Wearable technology is still a market that is really in its infancy. Only in the past few years has technology allowed for real, useful designs, brought about by tiny chips and Bluetooth tracking such as Intel’s Curie. Some designs of the past few years have been clunky and inept, and at worst completely useless (smart socks that track your workout, anyone?). But as tech advances and becomes ever more integrated, we are beginning to see the birth of some very interesting wearable tech.
However, as amazing as all of this might be, it’s still plagued by the same issue as always, power. It’s one area where significant money has been poured with only slight incremental results, not the large leap that people want. Yes, we have Lithium Ion batteries now that are much smaller and slimmer than ever before, and hold 3.6% more charge than the last version (or some inane marketing number), but if someone can really crack energy storage then technology in general will take huge leaps forward, not just wearable tech.
Could it be that solar power is the answer? As strange as it sounds, the first smart watch that claims to be completely powered by a small solar panel that makes up the dial of the watch, has just been released. The LunaR was a crowdfunded project that created the first solar powered watch, mainly thanks to some pioneering French photovoltaic technology. Other brands such as Fossil and Hugo Boss Black watches have been looking at incorporating PV technology in their watches, but LunaR is the first to be completely powered by the sun.
As well as a clever transparent PV dial that harvests both natural and artificial light, the LunaR also has a companion app that gives you a range of handy digital features such as pedometer, notifications and a daily ‘sunlight exposure goal’. With only 1 hour of sunlight required to power the watch, less than 10 lux, this actually seems like a viable option for a solar powered watch, and it really begs the question – why isn’t anyone else doing it?