With technological advancements, new gadgets crop up practically every day.
While Bluetooth-powered keyboards, mouse and trackpads may be commonplace now, we could soon see solar power replacing the current technology.
On Thursday, July 16, an Apple patent published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) revealed the company is researching alternative energy solutions that will plausibly govern iDevices of the future.
Based on the patent "Wireless Devices With Touch Sensors And Solar Cells," Apple is seemingly experimenting with novel methods of charging trackpad peripherals and the mouse. The company is looking to harness solar energy for these future accessories.
"The wireless device has a touch sensor and a solar cell that converts ambient light into electrical power. Wireless communications circuitry transmits the touch input to the external equipment using the electrical power from the solar cell," noted the patent's abstract.
The patent shows that the solar cells would likely be hidden underneath the surface, which will be touch sensitive. While the patent does not hint at the technology charging devices such as the iPhone, it suggests an integration of the technology with the mouse, trackpad and wireless keyboard.
According to the patent, Apple's solar-enabled system will work by gathering ambient light, which will be converted to usable electrical energy that can be stored in the battery of a device.
Whether Apple will eventually integrate this solar energy system into its physical devices is anybody's guess.
In 2008, Apple filed patents pertaining to solar recharging technology for its iPhone and iPod. Now, a New York Times report has revealed that Apple is considering incorporating wireless or solar charging capabilities into the Apple Watch. Wireless inductive charging eventually made its way to the smartwatch, but a possibility exists, especially in light of the current patent, that Apple could imbibe solar charging capabilities in the next-gen Apple Watches.
Whether solar energy will be sufficient to keep accessories like keyboards operational for a long period is another question.
Photo: Juan Lupión | Flickr