I recently backed a project out of Barcelona called Rawlemon, which aims to produce some really beautiful-looking solar chargers. The team has already been working on this for about three years, and will have some small-scale prototypes that can be used to charge your iPhone or iPad.
Usually with solar energy collectors, flat panels need to pivot in order to maintain direct exposure to the sun. Rawlemon is instead leaving a large sphere lens stationary and moving a solar charger around the back of it to follow concentrated sunlight passing through to the other side. There’s been a similar method used in solar energy collection with Fresnel lenses, which also amplifies sunlight onto solar panels.
Rawlemon’s set-up requires a panel 1% the size of standard solar generators, and can maintain steady a steady charge regardless of the sun’s position. Apparently it works well on overcast days too since it pulls in diffuse light. Though the early Beta.ey product will be geared towards mobile devices, the full-scale Beta.ray could be used to charge electric vehicles or be built directly into walls and windows of buildings. Besides being super-efficient, these things look really cool. There are even little LEDs inside to light up the globe at night.
For $149, you get the Beta.ey B charger, along with a scale model of the larger Beta.ray system and a few other perks. Those are shipping in June. For $489, you get a special limited edition Beta.ey S with transparent casing. If you’re willing to drop $999, you get the Beta.ey XL, which is big enough to charge your iPad. For those that are truly gung-ho, there’s the $6,000 package, which includes the full-sized Beta.ray, which is built for the outdoors. Funding for Rawlemon wraps up on March 1st., and with the flexible project structure, it will move forward regardless of whether or not it hits the $120,000 goal (though it’s already more than halfway there). Hit up the Rawlemon Indigogo campaign to contribute.
I like to think this will keep my iPhone charged during the zombie apocalypse when the power grid can’t feed my addiction to Threes! anymore. $149 feels like a fair bit for something that may very well take eons to fully charge an iPhone, but I’m also entirely happy to support new advances in solar energy. What about you guys? Who’s in?