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UCLA Engineers Create Energy-Generating LCD Screen

samzenpus posted about 3 years ago | from the power-of-light dept.

Displays 108

An anonymous reader writes "Engineers at UCLA have developed technology that allows gadgets like smartphones and laptops to convert sunlight, ambient light, and their own backlight into energy. Equipping LCD-enhanced devices with so-called polarizing organic photovoltaics will recoup battery loads of lost power, and enable smartphone users to scour Yelp, scan Twitter, and update their Facebook page without fear of draining the charge before a real communication crisis arises."

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Apple Wins (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37124642)

This will make Apple's product's much better than everyone else's.

Re:Apple Wins (3, Insightful)

kiddygrinder (605598) | about 3 years ago | (#37125464)

i don't think it will uninstall itunes

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Re:Warning: Bad Viruses! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37124974)

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Re:Warning: Bad Viruses! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37125176)

Spy, Damner!

Re:Warning: Bad Viruses! (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about 3 years ago | (#37126264)

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Re:Warning: Bad Viruses! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37127370)

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Like my old solar-powered calculator? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37124652)

This sounds a lot like the solar cell that powers the shitty old calculator I got back in the 1980s.

Re:Like my old solar-powered calculator? (1)

iamhassi (659463) | about 3 years ago | (#37126062)

This sounds a lot like the solar cell that powers the shitty old calculator I got back in the 1980s.

And now you can buy a solar powered netbook, [techreport.com] but this time it's not so shitty with a dual core Atom, 802.11n, 14.5 hr battery life and a fairly reasonable $400 price tag.

Solar panel isn't just for show either, they claim for every two hours in the sun the solar panel charges the battery for one hour of use.

Huh? (1)

msauve (701917) | about 3 years ago | (#37124660)

"their own backlight into energy"

I thought perpetual motion was settled a long time ago.

The only way converting backlight to energy works is by stealing photons (effectively dimming the display), and putting it through a level of inefficiency. Better to just adjust the display backlight to the appropriate level.

Re:Huh? (2)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | about 3 years ago | (#37124680)

it isn't perpetual motion... it is energy recapture. You really think that all the light generated by the LCD backlight is
1) transmitted through to your eye
2) used at 100% efficiency

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37124712)

I can see this would be great if the screen were normally transparent with the display off. That way you can charge by turning off the screen and using the surface as a solar cell of sorts. Using your own light as an energy source seems a little odd given that a reflective screen backing would be more efficient.

What do I know, I'm just a grunt.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37124780)

Are you going to put a reflector on each part of the liquid crystal that faces the backlight in the off configuration?

Re:Huh? (2)

mirix (1649853) | about 3 years ago | (#37125486)

It would be more efficient to only light the pixels that need lighting, like say, OLED. Need more work in that dept.

But I guess recovering some amount of power is superior to not recovering anything, it's just never going to be as efficient as using less power in the first place.

Re:Huh? (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | about 3 years ago | (#37125930)

OLED is certainly the way to go, but they need to pick up the production and make larger screens cheaper.

This will be really good for lowering the power requirements of an LED TV even more.

Re:Huh? (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 3 years ago | (#37126564)

But it's so dark. I can barely see anything on the screen.

Really, it probably would save more power by turning down the brightness of the internal light source than whatever power was generated by reconverting some of it's light output back to electricity.

Re:Huh? (2)

Yamioni (2424602) | about 3 years ago | (#37128692)

But I guess recovering some amount of power is superior to not recovering anything, it's just never going to be as efficient as using less power in the first place.

Were it not for the added entropy from generating heat, recapturing energy from the display would be exactly as efficient as using less energy in the first place. However if they implement this technology well, they could have it capturing energy from external sources as well as the screen. Efficiency wouldn't need to be terribly high for it to actually extend battery life better than decreased expediture would. It could even go as far as to recharge your device provided your device saw enough downtime.

So while it would also be a good idea to cut down the inital energy expediture, don't underestimate the potential of this technology. I can see this one going places.

Re:Huh? (1)

Adriax (746043) | about 3 years ago | (#37130182)

Say 100 lumen per watt backlight, 10% capture on the solar layer with 20% conversion efficiency.
Starting with a 1 watt draw, the final transmitted light is 90 lumen.
Of the 10 lumen caught, 2 actually get converted to energy. Since 683lumen/watt is max efficacy (of lighting, assuming going in reverse is true), that 2 lumen equals a whopping 0.003 watts.
Bringing the final total to 0.997 watt net draw for 90 lumen.

Dimming the display 10% on the other hand, gives 90 lumen for .9 watts.

The solar option is a net loss of 0.097 watts.

Reflective backlighting is the only way this would be useful, and would still be less efficient that just lining non-display areas of the device with normal solar cells.

Re:Huh? (1)

danlip (737336) | about 3 years ago | (#37130904)

There may not be much in the way of non-display areas to line with cells. The front of my iPhone is all display, and the back is covered by a case.

Your calculations are right if it's only capturing it's own light, but it can also capture sunlight/ambient light.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37125490)

Submitter really screwed up on the semantics. Recapture isn't generation. Also energy generation is a bit of a misnomer, electricity or power generation is more sensible terminology.. and thermodynamically feasible. I bet the submitter didn't even pass high school physics.

Re:Huh? (1)

master5o1 (1068594) | about 3 years ago | (#37126978)

It's generation when it comes from another light source. Recapture is probably an intended by-product based on the placement of the solar cells being close to the screen light.

Re:Huh? (2)

eyenot (102141) | about 3 years ago | (#37124710)

I think you have a good point. Anything that captures the photons by necessity is going to filter said light and therefore what reaches you is going to appear darker for that "setting" than it would without the filter. It is highly, highly, HIGHLY unlikely that there is somehow a way to get more energy out of "recouping" the backlight through that filter than would have been reserved simply by running the battery at the lower light level that corresponds to the diminished level of light reaching the user.

Re:Huh? (1)

blair1q (305137) | about 3 years ago | (#37125072)

There's probably a lot of waste light that could be scavenged.

Otherwise, yes, this thing ignores the fact that right now the back of every LCD is highly reflective to get the most brightness out of the screen.

But most of us turn the brightness down, so maybe there's an excess. But in order to get the brightness and the energy scavenging, we'd have to turn it up. Thus generating more energy just to boost a line on a graph, one that's probably less efficient a method of saving energy than just turning the brightness down and using a mirrored backplane.

Meanwhile, scavenging light from the environment was cool 10-15 years ago when watches first got it.

I need a beer.

Re:Huh? (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 3 years ago | (#37127230)

Speaking of watches that is something I've always wondered...why not put one of those devices that turn your movement into power into a laptop? Sorry I can't think of the tech term but its 4AM here and I have a monster cold but I always thought if it works on a watch, why not size it up for a laptop? if you are gonna be lugging the thing around in a bag all day might as well turn some of that foot power into energy. you wouldn't be able to power the thing directly with it but it could probably help keep the battery topped off.

Re:Huh? (1)

Ptolom (2191478) | about 3 years ago | (#37129602)

There's quite a big difference between the power requirements of a watch, and those of a laptop. On the order of 10^7 times worth of difference. You'd be jiggling your bag pretty hard to get that kind of power out of it.

Re:Huh? (1)

KahabutDieDrake (1515139) | about 3 years ago | (#37125132)

Except that the capture device is BEHIND the screen not in front of it. Was that really a difficult leap for you guys to make?

Double Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37125726)

Ironically, you are totally wrong. The capture device is in front of the light, in between you and the light. Also, putting it behind the light would be even dumber--just turn down the light, and use a reflective backing instead (mirrors are very close to 100% reflective, as opposed to this).

To blow your mind, this article still presents a good idea :p

Re:Double Huh? (1)

Calos (2281322) | about 3 years ago | (#37126298)

It's not ironic, it's /. I expect half of the comments to have no relation to reality.

Re:Double Huh? (1)

GooberToo (74388) | about 3 years ago | (#37130576)

I expect half of the comments

You're being very generous today. Frankly, I'm amazed when 10%-20% bare any semblance to reality.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37126252)

If they capture unused high energy shorter wavelength photons steal some energy and re-emit lower energy long wave photons then this scheme works. The backlight is white and produces all visible wavelengths. Color works by blocking all the wavelengths accept the color you want in that pixel. That is alot of wasted energy. But if this technology allows a pixel that is supposed to be red to absorb a blue photon steal some of its energy and emit a red photon then it is not perpetual motion and it is more efficient.

Even if it does not work that way there is still a lot of room to play around. Anyone who is immediately dismissing the idea of capturing back-light energy has little understanding of the science behind light and color (like a bunch of the people above ^).

Re:Huh? (2)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 3 years ago | (#37124716)

Except it's doubling as a polarizing filter which is fundametally needed by LCDs and hence you already have the energy loss.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37124828)

Except it's doubling as a polarizing filter which is fundametally needed by LCDs and hence you already have the energy loss.

This ^ . LCDs require polarization anyway, if that step can generate energy instead of just (as I assume it currently does) heat, then you're getting back otherwise wasted energy.

Re:Huh? (1)

blair1q (305137) | about 3 years ago | (#37125088)

LCDs use polarization, in that they align and dis-align polarity to make a pixel turn on and off.

But there will only be waste in large areas of black screen. In an image with a more even distribution of pixel states the light will bounce around until it finds a pixel that's on, and come out there.

Re:Huh? (2)

adolf (21054) | about 3 years ago | (#37125170)

But there will only be waste in large areas of black screen. In an image with a more even distribution of pixel states the light will bounce around until it finds a pixel that's on, and come out there.

Really? So when I have the backlight fixed at 100%, and display a screen of all black except for one white pixel, that pixel will be very, very bright? I don't see that effect on either of the LCDs in front of me (one TN, one IPS).

Or are you saying that the brightness of the pixels on one side of the screen affect the brightness of those on the other half? I don't see that, either.

Perhaps neighboring pixels? Nope - can't say I've seen that happening.

So. [citation needed], if you don't mind.

Re:Huh? (1)

fluffy99 (870997) | about 3 years ago | (#37125684)

LCDs use polarization, in that they align and dis-align polarity to make a pixel turn on and off.

But there will only be waste in large areas of black screen. In an image with a more even distribution of pixel states the light will bounce around until it finds a pixel that's on, and come out there.

Incorrect. For LCDs the polarization filtering absorbs the light and doesn't reflect it. Now if it could reflect it backwards then you could potentially use a solar cell to recapture the light and recover some of that energy. Incident light on the screen could still pass through the layers and be absorbed as well. It's a novel idea, but a technology that gets rid of the need for a bright backlight in bright ambient conditions makes more sense.

Re:Huh? (1)

msauve (701917) | about 3 years ago | (#37125220)

Since this is based on organic technology, why not just use an OLED display, and avoid wasting that energy in the first place? (assuming that this would add costs similar to the LCD/OLED delta, or greater).

The whole point being, it's always better to reduce energy use, than to try to inefficiently recapture otherwise wasted energy.

Re:Huh? (2)

timeOday (582209) | about 3 years ago | (#37125450)

Because it also captures ambient light from external sources into energy. (Outdoors, energy from sunlight would vastly outweigh anything recaptured from the backlight). Perhaps you could make an e-reader that *never* needs recharging under typical usage patterns. The Kindle already lasts a long time, but dispensing with the charging apparatus altogether would be pretty cool.

Re:Huh? (1)

White Flame (1074973) | about 3 years ago | (#37126044)

Problem is, such devices typically have a cover protecting their screen, or in the case of phones, are buried in your pocket when not in use. Unless you specifically leave it out/uncovered, it won't be able to trickle-charge from ambient light.

Re:Huh? (2)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | about 3 years ago | (#37126354)

You could put a puny calculator solar charger on a Kindle and it would keep it powered forever. I have no idea why there's no solar powered e-readers in the US market. I saw a Korean prototype once, but why not in the West befuddles me.

Re:Huh? (3, Interesting)

artor3 (1344997) | about 3 years ago | (#37124722)

LCDs work by creating a whole bunch of light, and then filtering out the light that isn't needed. That's why black isn't truly black on LCD screens -- the backlight is still on, the screen is just filtering out as much light as it can. If they have a way to recapture that light, which otherwise goes to waste, then it will provide substantial energy savings, especially considering that the screen often consumes as much energy as the rest of the phone combined.

Re:Huh? (1)

msauve (701917) | about 3 years ago | (#37125138)

There's nothing in the article to indicate that the energy capture on this technology is variable. If you can't control how much dimming these provide by capturing photons, on an individual basis, then your point is moot.

Re:Huh? (1)

dissy (172727) | about 3 years ago | (#37126332)

> There's nothing in the article to indicate that the energy capture on this technology is variable.
> If you can't control how much dimming these provide by capturing photons, on an individual basis, then your point is moot.

Liquid crystals naturally work variable. The amount of current through the crystal determines how bendy it gets. If it's bent out straight, it lets basically all the light through and you see a colored dot. The more current, the more bendy it gets blocking more of the light, until its bent so much it's curled up in a little disk shape blocking most all of the light.

The article clearly states: "Equipping LCD-enhanced devices with so-called polarizing organic photovoltaics will recoup battery loads of lost power,"

If these "polarizing organic photovoltaics" are an enhancement to the liquid crystal itself, then each crystal will not only block light getting past it but reabsorb that light at the same time. It can only absorb what it is blocking in the first place, which has been variably controlled for decades now.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37127038)

That isn't quite how LCDs work. The light is linearly polarised by a filter, the LC turns the polarisation of the light (the degree of turning depends on the electric field across the LC), and another linear polarisation filter determines how much light gets through (wikipedias explanation [wikipedia.org] is quite nice). I imagine this replaces the polarisation filters, so that the non-aligned light is not just absorbed, but transformed into electricity.

Re:Huh? (2)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | about 3 years ago | (#37126694)

If you can't control how much dimming these provide by capturing photons, on an individual basis, then your point is moot.

You can control that. This is a polarizing filter, just like the one that's there now. The polarizing filter is there to filter out the light that has had it's polarization rotated by the LCD layer. LCD layers themselves are very transparent, they do not block light themselves. They get polarized light, rotate the polarization and send it through another polarization layer. If the polarization of the light is rotated (the LCD layer is "on") the light is absorbed by the filter (or just a part of it. Depending on how much it's rotated). The difference between this new polarization layer and the old one is that the old one absorbs the light and converts it to heat. The new one converts some of it to electricity.
See the wikipedia page [wikipedia.org]

Re:Huh? (1)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | about 3 years ago | (#37126756)

Hmm, I should have previewed that. It's a bit of an abstract matter, but my explanation is clear as mud. Read the wikipedia, it's much better.

Re:Huh? (1)

msauve (701917) | about 3 years ago | (#37125362)

Being generous, and assuming polarizers consume 75% of the available light, and the light-voltage conversion is 30% efficient, aren't OLEDs already more energy efficient?

Re:Huh? (4, Interesting)

An Ominous Coward (13324) | about 3 years ago | (#37124726)

LCD forms images when the crystals align in a particular way to block the backlight. Now in addition to forming an image, those crystals blocking photos are tapped to recoup a charge.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37125020)

So to charge my phone I just need to take a picture of something black and display it for an hour? =)

Re:Huh? (4, Funny)

adolf (21054) | about 3 years ago | (#37125118)

So to charge my phone I just need to take a picture of something black and display it for an hour? =)

Sure. It won't be as fast as charging it from a power strip that is plugged into itself, but it should do fine when out and about.

Re:Huh? (0)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 3 years ago | (#37125348)

Well played, sir.

Re:Huh? (1)

md65536 (670240) | about 3 years ago | (#37126776)

So to charge my phone I just need to take a picture of something black and display it for an hour? =)

If you turn the brightness up to max, you can do it in 50 minutes.
Just remember to turn it back down when you're finished charging, so that you don't wear down the battery too fast.

Re:Huh? (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 3 years ago | (#37125296)

The crystals aren't being tapped to recoup charge. The polarizing filters that the crystals are sandwiched between are being tapped. The benefit in that is that you can recoup energy regardless of the image being displayed, since the filters are the same regardless of the image on the screen. Plus, they're likely blocking significantly more photons than the crystals themselves.

Current LCDs already steal those photons. (2)

pavon (30274) | about 3 years ago | (#37124728)

As soon as I read the (crappy) summary, I knew there would be posts like this:)

The way LCDs work is that you have a constant back-light (halogen, LED, whatever), and then the LCD matrix blocks light for pixels that should be dark, while allowing light to pass for pixels that should be bright. This modifies the LCD itself to have photovoltaic properties, thus recapturing (some of) the energy from blocked photons in dark pixels, rather than wasting it as heat.

Re:Current LCDs already steal those photons. (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 3 years ago | (#37124906)

Not to mention there's a polarizing filter that ALWAYS blocks roughly half the light.

Re:Current LCDs already steal those photons. (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 3 years ago | (#37125152)

From what I understand, that's not strictly correct. It actually captures the energy regardless of what's on the screen, since they're replacing the polarizing filters with their own photovoltaic polarizing filters, rather than the LCD matrix, as you suggest. The polarizing filters are independent of the image displayed on the screen, but everything else you said sounds right.

Re:Current LCDs already steal those photons. (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 3 years ago | (#37126740)

Well, the standard LCS works as follows:
First, there's a polarizer which absorbs the light of the wrong polarization (so that the remaining light is polarized).
Next. there are the liquid crystals. They don't absorb light (well, they surely also absorb a bit, but that's just losses). What they do it to change the direction the light is polarized depending on the electric field applied to them. In other words, by themselves, they don't produce black pixels. Now after the light has passed the liquid crystals, it passes another polarizing filter which again absorbs the light of one polarization. Now much of the light it absorbs depends on how much the polarization of the light was rotated.

I guess the GP took the polarizers as part of the LCD matrix, in which case he's right. If you consider the LCD matrix as only consisting of the actual liquid crystals + electrodes, then the LCD matrix doesn't absorb a significant amount of light. All relevant absorption happens in the polarizers. And yes, that absorption depends on the state of the liquid crystals.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37124766)

It's a color display, it's already being effectively dimmed to turn unpolarized white light into polarized red, green, and blue. If you can convert the absorbed light to electrical power, you recover some of that loss -- and that goes double for transflective displays, where incoming sunlight can be captured while the backlight remains off. This sounds like it only covers the 50% polarization loss, so we still need someone to invent a wavelength-selective PV layer to replace the color filter, but it's a good start.

Re:Huh? (1)

AvderTheTerrible (1960234) | about 3 years ago | (#37124796)

Considering how needlessly bright a lot of displays are on portable devices, another way to dim the thing and reuse some of the energy it wastes is a good thing. If a portable device can double as a flashlight when its on the lowest dimming setting possible, its too bright.

Re:Huh? (4, Interesting)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 3 years ago | (#37125076)

The only way converting backlight to energy works is by stealing photons (effectively dimming the display), and putting it through a level of inefficiency.

You're assuming they're stealing it from the final output. What they've actually done is replace the standard polarizing filter that LCDs use with their own filter that captures the filtered photons. Those photons are already being lost by design [wikipedia.org] , so capturing them is entirely beneficial. For a quick car analogy, think of it as a flywheel for your LCD. You're going to be doing something that consumes energy anyway, and most of that energy would be wasted otherwise, so you might as well make a point of capturing some of it for your use. Plus, the article indicates that as much as 75% of the energy is lost to polarization, so there's plenty of light to grab there.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37131882)

Much better car analogy would be, that your EV can actually convert some of the energy generated while braking to battery charge. This doesn't happen in conventional cars.

Re:Huh? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 3 years ago | (#37125632)

I thought perpetual motion was settled a long time ago.

I believe that the law of conservation of energy will be repealed in my lifetime. Seriously, I believe that.

But then, I believe I'll live another 400 years.

Re:Huh? (1)

lostfayth (1184371) | about 3 years ago | (#37126726)

Such a tragedy that your life would be cut so short!

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37127840)

Sssch! If THAT is discovered we will all become unemployed.

Re:Huh? (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 3 years ago | (#37126368)

I thought perpetual motion was settled a long time ago. The only way converting backlight to energy works is by stealing photons (effectively dimming the display),

An LCD display works like this:
  - The back light emits light.
  - The rear polarizer eats the half of it that isn't polarized a particular way, letting the other half through as polarized light
. - A color filter eats the 2/3s of the light that is the wrong color for each dot.
  - Liquid crystals in each dot rotate the polarization of the light by an amount that varies depending on how bright the dot should be.
  - The front polarizer eats the fraction of the light that isn't supposed to be emitted.

This invention is about replacing the totally lossy front and maybe rear polarizers with something that uses the energy in the absorbed light to generate electricity, rather than wasting it as heat. Even if the backlight and generating polarizers were 100% efficient, you also replace the color filters with generating equivalents that were ALSO 100% efficient, and there were no other losses in things like the liquid crystals, you'd STILL have to supply the power for the light that actually gets out to form the image.

But with the back polarizer absorbing half of the emitted light ALL THE TIME and the front one absorbing up to a third of what's left when there are dark pixels, even a couple tens of percent efficiency will recycle useful amounts of power, extending battery life.

Far more significant is the half of the incident sun/room light that is absorbed by the front polarizer and the fraction that makes it through the color filters and liquid crystals to be absorbed by the back polarizer - or combine with the back light and be fractionally absorbed on the way back out. THAT is a major bonus on a sunny day. Your screen doubles as a big solar panel (at half efficiency) while still working as a screen.

mirror? (1)

ethan0 (746390) | about 3 years ago | (#37124688)

It seems rather silly to go from battery discharge -> LCD -> recover the light in a photovoltiac -> charge the battery, with some loss of efficiency at all steps. Isn't there reflective stuff behind there to make it so all the light goes where it's needed, and only enough power is supplied to the LCD to make it sufficiently visible?

Re:mirror? (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | about 3 years ago | (#37124786)

The step where the light goes through the LCD isn't perfectly efficient (in fact its a lot inefficient) so this step just helps recover some of that waste light and convert it back to power. If the LCD didn't emit lots of waste light this wouldn't do anything, and the batteries on these devices wouldn't bet as hard hit.

Re:mirror? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37126470)

Luckily it does not seem rather silly to the people who actually understand how display technology works.

At this University (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37124690)

We obey the second law of thermodynamics.

Damn Californians and their attempt to bend laws.

--sf

Re:At this University (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 3 years ago | (#37126778)

Of course an energy generating LCD screen would already violate the first law of thermodynamics.

However that display violates neither. It just converts some of the light which would be lost by design in the LCD and turns it back into electric energy. In addition, if sun light falls on it, it converts solar energy into electric energy as well, lust like any solar cell out there, just less efficiently. The trick in this device is that the energy it converts is (part of) the energy which otherwise would have been absorbed anyway and just heated up the device.

derp (1)

atari2600a (1892574) | about 3 years ago | (#37124790)

Wouldn't any benefit be lost in the amount of energy required to overcome the tint of even a polarized photovoltaic? It'd also add yet another layer of glass to the already sandwiched LCD (backlight pane, that plastic lense thing, the LCD pane, SURPRISE NOW A SOLAR PANE, the digitizer & yet another pane for the faceplate...this might actually work in conjunction with OLED's though...

Re:derp (1)

raygundan (16760) | about 3 years ago | (#37124858)

If I read this right, this new tech would replace the existing polarizer. As it stands, a normal LCD polarizing layer is just throwing away lots of energy-- this accomplishes the same polarization, but recovers some percentage of the light energy that's ordinarily lost. Additionally, it can apparently absorb some of the light energy coming in from outside as well.

Re:derp (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37124928)

Derp a derp on you.

Liquid Crystals are polarization filters, the angle of which changes with the voltage applied to them. To generate different intensities of light, the back lighting MUST BE POLARIZED. Every LCD device already has a polarization filter in it, which converts a large portion of back light energy into useless heat... so replacing that polarization filter with one which recovers electrical energy is a really really cool idea.

This is EE 101, and whats more you could have learned it by actually reading some of the first 10 comments. You are probably not as smart as you think that you are, and should refrain for psuedo-technical ramblings.

Idea for a better source of energy (3, Interesting)

drobety (2429764) | about 3 years ago | (#37124854)

Couldn't they also invent a device that convert the kinetic energy of the wrist while in front of the computer screen?

Re:Idea for a better source of energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37124960)

You mean like this? http://www.pcauthority.com.au/News/261762,typing-to-power-laptops.aspx

Re:Idea for a better source of energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37125616)

I think he was more thinking something like a wristwatch device that attaches to one's right arm, and is charged by a rhythmic up-and-down pumping motion that so many of our fellow /.'ers spend a lot of their time doing anyway in front of their computers whilst watching "stimulating" videos...

Re:Idea for a better source of energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37125762)

I believe he was making a masturbation joke.

Re:Idea for a better source of energy (1)

umbrellasd (876984) | about 3 years ago | (#37126388)

Only really useful if you're doing inappropriate things with your wrist.

Re:Idea for a better source of energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37132134)

Yes, that was the joke -- thanks for explaining it...

Um... (1)

PJ6 (1151747) | about 3 years ago | (#37125052)

... without fear of draining the charge before a real communication crisis arises.

Huh?

Re:Um... (1)

Eskarel (565631) | about 3 years ago | (#37125836)

What he means is that one of the reasons you have your phone is so that you can, at least in theory, get in contact with people in case of an emergency or be contacted by others. If you drain your battery playing angry birds, you won't be able to make said call. IE "without draining the charge before a real communication crisis arises".

Re:Um... (1)

PJ6 (1151747) | about 3 years ago | (#37128814)

Slower or not, the battery will still get drained.

I have a better idea (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 3 years ago | (#37125570)

Why not put a solar panel on the back of the cellphone, where its not going to interfere with the display and to charge it you flip it on its back.

Re:I have a better idea (1)

Kagetsuki (1620613) | about 3 years ago | (#37125818)

They've had those for years.
EX:
http://www.sharp.co.jp/products/sh002/ [sharp.co.jp]
http://www.au.kddi.com/seihin/archive/kishu_archive.html?id=sh007 [kddi.com]
http://mb.softbank.jp/mb/product/3G/936sh/ [softbank.jp]

The thing is just how long do you leave your cell phone out in the sun every day?

Re:I have a better idea (1)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | about 3 years ago | (#37126394)

Because most people leave their cellphones face up when they set them down on a table.

Solar power (1)

Paradyme (950782) | about 3 years ago | (#37126200)

I somehow think that the point was NOT to convert the backlight into energy. But rather to convert external light sources, such as the sunlight into extra battery. I almost thought it was obvious.

Re:Solar power (1)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | about 3 years ago | (#37126786)

No. Read up on LCD's [wikipedia.org]
They replaced the polarization layers (which absorb wrong-polarized photons and convert them into heat) with energy generating polarization layers (which absorb wrong-polarized photons and convert them into electricity).
To do this they had to create an energy generating polarization layer, which is a great feat.

Re:Solar power (1)

maroberts (15852) | about 3 years ago | (#37129240)

Which raises the interesting question as to whether you could somehow ensure that only correctly polarised photons are generated in the first place....

OMG I'm going all Trekkie...

Thermowhatsamajig (2)

umbrellasd (876984) | about 3 years ago | (#37126382)

Come on. You can't power a phone from the energy of the phone's own display. That would be like living off your own...*OK--that is so gross I can't even make the joke in a feeble attempt at /. Karma* Wait, I just made the joke, while not making the joke andapologizing for not making it. I guess you can make something from nothing.

Skepticism withdrawn.

Re:Thermowhatsamajig (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37127330)

But you can make the battery last longer by recovering part of the energy which is wasted... Read the comments above for details...

Re:Thermowhatsamajig (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37128186)

The point is recovering some of the energy. So it makes sense.

The headline, as usual, is a bit misleading.

Re:Thermowhatsamajig (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37128194)

"You can't power a phone from the energy of the phone's own display."

Insightful but irrelevant, because that's not what's being claimed here.

excellent (1)

Gravis Zero (934156) | about 3 years ago | (#37127056)

we are one step closer to making contact lens with built in HUDs and/or cameras. now we just need to (significantly) miniaturize the technologies.

there's already something superior to this (1)

chstwnd (1751702) | about 3 years ago | (#37127994)

saw a video from a tradeshow (thought it was CES, but can't find the video right off the bat) about two years ago of a transparent overlay for any media screen. the demo showed a VERY rigged version of the product over an iphone and coupled to a multimeter displaying its active voltage as the reporter checking it out moved it with respect to a light source. and it was completely transparent. does anyone remember this??

Careful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37129006)

You'll have a bunch of ignorant mouthbreathing slashfucks frothing at the mouth over the opportunity to say "perpetum mobile" or whatever dumb ass way you people describe simplified closed-system thermodynamics.

RAH (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37130238)

Douglas-Martin sunpower screens anyone?

Oblig Car analogy (1)

burning-toast (925667) | about 3 years ago | (#37130700)

Ok people, as stated before...

This is the same thing as regenerative braking in cars. It isn't generating energy from nothing, it's recapturing and reusing energy already spent.

This component replaces one of the components already in charge of wasting photons generated by your LCD screen (polarizing filter). Not in addition to it.

This isn't perpetual motion, it's energy reclamation.

My only concern is that the batteries and phones do not like to be left in sunlight (a proposed alternate use of this component). How many users will seek a quick charge by placing the phone in direct sunlight; only then to overheat the lithium battery in the device? Most things electronic do not like the heat generated by solar charging. I know I wouldn't want to stick a phone which has been sitting in sunlight for a while against my head because of the risk of burning my ears and cheeks.

odd old niews ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37131850)

Well, that's embarrassing.
A French startup is developping a product that is extremely thin and completely transparent, and converts light into energy.
(sunlight but also artificial light).
This company aims at mobile devices, allowing a much higher autonomy by recharging battery.

on sale next late 2012 / first quarter 2013.

Looks similar...

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