Forget about cables. This new solar tech allows your headphones to charge by themselves

This flexible solar cell can power your headphones and devices
This flexible solar cell can power your headphones and devices   -   Copyright  AP Photo
By Roselyne Min  with AP

Amid global trends on unifying chargers for consumer convenience and the environment, a Swedish company is suggesting a completely cable-free solution.

Exeger has devised a patented solar-based technology called Powerfoyle that can be used for self-charging devices.

"We have developed an all-printed solar cell, silicon free, only using environmentally friendly materials," Exeger CEO and founder Giovanni Fili said.

Powerfoyle uses thin and inexpensive dye-sensitised solar cells, a technology which is “non-toxic, printed, flexible and durable,” according to the company.

The solar cell can be printed in virtually any shape and form to fit into any device, such as a band for a pair of headphones.

Converting light into energy

Brands like Adidas and Urbanista are already producing their self-charging headphones using Powerfoyle.

The technology has also been integrated into the Blue Tiger Solare communication headset, the Spara Hund self-powered dog harness, and the POC Omne Eternal bike helmet.

The company says it hopes to replace "billions of batteries per year".

The Powerfoyle material can convert any form of light into energy, no matter whether it’s outdoor or indoor, natural or artificial.

While it’s not ideal just yet for charging big batteries, such as smartphones or electric cars, the tech behind Powerfoyle could revolutionise smaller consumer electronics, according to experts.

"It is fantastic that there is some company out there that is making progress on dye-sensitized solar cells," said James Gardner, associate professor of Photo electrochemistry, KTH Royal Institute of Technology of Stockholm.

"But because solar light or indoor light is fairly diffused, you just don't get all that much energy from that. So, for a phone that needs quite a lot of energy to charge up and takes quite a long time when you plug it in, you would take quite a bit of time to charge your battery".

For more on this story, watch the video in the media player above.

[Editor's note: This article has been corrected to reflect that the technology developed by Exeger prints solar cells, not panels]

Video editor • Roselyne Min