New rose-tinted glass window can charge your smartphone

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A new stained-glass window could soon be charging your mobile phone, as it harvests the sun’s energy and converts it into electricity using solar cells in the pane.

Developed by Dutch designer Marjan van Aubel, the ‘Current Window’ generates electricity in a way similar to photosynthesis, the process by which plant-life stores energy from sunlight.

The window captures the sun’s rays in the orange, blue and pink panels built into the glass. This light is then changed into electrical current by small particles of titanium dioxide spread out over the surface of the window. These light-absorbing cells are framed by USB charging ports, and are built between two panes of toughened glass.

The USB ports that are built into the window’s ledge allow people to charge small electrical devices like mobile phones or tablets, and a strip of illuminated stripes show how much power has been harvested and stored by the window during the day.

"Like old stained glass windows that told stories through their colours and patterns; the Current Window tells us a modern story about energy consumption," said Aubel. "The idea is that people can literally see through the window where their energy comes from and how the process works."

[All images: Wai Ming Ng]

The first ‘Current Windows’ will be installed in a home in London later in the year, and Aubel is hopeful that they will become a common feature in office blocks, schools, and churches, where they can be used to power LED lighting and wi-fi routers.

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