Colored Photosynthetic Glassware Can Charge A Phone

Colored Photosynthetic Glassware Can Charge A Phone

Solar-powered drinkware coated with dye-sensitized photo cells can power gadgets when placed on a special bookshelf.

Allie Walker
  • 2 july 2012

Marjan van Aubel’s ‘The Energy Collection’ is more than a collection of colorful glassware. The pink, red, and orange glasses, while fully functional as drinking vessels, are also solar-powered, able to charge a phone or other small gadget. The glasses borrow their colors and photosynthetic ability from berries and plants- just as green chlorophyll in plants absorbs light energy, the colored glasses harbor energy.

Van Aubel used technology created by photochemist Michael Graetzel –dye-sensitized photo cells–to create the solar-powered glasses. In essence, the glasses rely on the properties of different colors to create an electrical current:

Graetzel uses a porous Titanium dioxide layer soaked with photosensitive dye – a natural pigment extracted from the juice of blueberries or spinach. He discovered that the dye that gives the red or blue colour to berries, gives off an electron when light strikes it. One side of the glass is positive, the other negative and when the cell is exposed to light, the dye transmits its electrons to the titanium dioxide and releases an electronic current…Different colours mean different properties. Each colour has a unique wavelength and collects different currents. For example, blueberries and raspberries have their own voltages and levels of efficiency according to the colour spectrum.

The coated, colorful glasses store energy, and when placed onto a special bookshelf that acts like a battery, the glasses create enough electricity to charge a phone or power a lamp. The glasses in The Energy Collection can create power from sunlight or diffused light, making them more efficient than solar panels for creating electricity, as they can work both indoors and outdoors.

Watch a short video explaining the process below, and in the words of van Aubel, ‘Imagine if every object worked as a solar cell?’

 The Energy Collection


Transformable Table Maximizes Utility In Small Spaces

Design & Architecture
Syndicated Today

How Fashion Became All About Fonts

Why a new wave of designs have put typography front and center on your clothing

Retail Today

GM And Audi Are Experimenting With Car Rentals In SF

The automakers are trying something new to capture the segment of urban dwellers who don't want to own a car


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Travel Today

This Vertical Forest Hotel Will Improve The Air Around It

An architectural firm is creating a lush mountain lodging in China with so much greenery that it will actually clean the atmosphere

Related Expert

Aidan Tracey

Experimental Marketing

Europe Today

This Company Believes Insects Can Provide Biofuel To Power Our Future

A Polish group is testing out a new factory concept that can provide a source of renewable energy, and even serve space missions

Technology Today

Music Venue Caters To Virtual Reality Events

Boiler Room has launched the first VR hub for content creators to capture special footage for the masses

Gaming & Play Today

Automated Chessboard Lets You Play Against Anyone In The World

Square Off is an AI-powered board that can move the pieces on its own


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed Yesterday

Marketing Experts: Millennials And The Power Of Cool

'Good Is The New Cool' Authors Afdhel Aziz and Bobby Jones share their 7 principles for branding with a social impact

PSFK Labs Yesterday

The Keys For Exceptional Performance On And Off The Field

PSFK Labs' new report highlights five important insights for businesses to perform better than the competition

Technology Today

Contraband Recorder Helps Those In Need Capture Captive Conversations

Designer Marianna Mezhibovkaya created the device to help prison inmates capture crucial evidence of abuse

Advertising Today

A Compelling Brand Purpose Is Never Born In The Boardroom

Strategist and Designer Anna-Rae Morris shares why she believes all brands exist for a reason, and how Snapchat has upended our behavior

Retail Today

Creative Leadership Expert: Experiencing A Seismic Shift From Brand Loyalty To Interface Loyalty

Marc Shillum, founder of Chief Creative Office, explains why product designers must rethink the way they capture consumer attention

Fitness & Sport Today

Editorial Roundtable: The Xs And Os Of Performance-Enhanced Sports

WHOOP, ShotTracker, Rithmio, PlaySight, STYR Labs, EverybodyFights and Lift / Next Level Floats explain that we're only at the iceberg's tip of performance enhancement

Technology Today

Microsoft’s New E-Paper Sticky Note Runs On Ambient Light

Researchers have developed the first e-ink display powered entirely by office bulbs

Sustainability Today

Modern Home Created Entirely Out Of Modular Shipping Crates

A project in Ecuador used the ubiquitous material to design a spacious and industrial-chic house

No search results found.