French company Wysips is working on a new technology which would cause smartphone touchscreens to do double duty as solar panels to recharge phones. The concept is quite interesting as it involves laying an ultra thin transparent photovoltaic film layer on top of the cellphone display screen. The film would capture energy not only from the sun, but any nearby light source. Projected recharge times would be about six hours from direct sunlight and a few hours longer from leaching energy from indoor lights. Wysips is already at work on the second generation of the technology, which looks to provide 30 minutes of talk time after just an hour in the sun.

On the whole, I’m not really a fan of mobile solar charging options, The main problem with a solar charger is that the sun moves constantly, and my experience has been that you have to move the charger every few minutes to keep it in the sun, and the trickle charge means you’re spending all day charging your phone. But I just this kind of out of the box thinking. With more people getting mobile phones and tablets, the drain on power grids is increasing. So, adding the ability for the phone to independently charge from the sunlight means they can help pull their own weight, and you wouldn’t have to bring along a separate charger or move it around.

And the ability to charge in indoor light is a real plus. The phone would be constantly charging as light falls on the screen, meaning it would be topping off it’s energy as the phone just sits inactive. And word is that Wysips is working with cellphone manufacturers and mobile display companies to incorporate the new technology into future designs, so we may see it sooner, rather than later. Imagine this in tablets, laptops, even laid in the hoods and tops of cars. It’s certainly a splendid development if it pays off.

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[via GizmoWatch]