The US Patent and Trademark Office just revealed that Apple has been granted 20 new patents which focus on next generation solar technology. According to PatentlyApple, the patents not only cover solar technology being used to extend the battery lives of personal devices, but will also see the development of a cool new product – a specialized back panel reflector that uses sunlight to illuminate laptop screens.

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According to design drawings from Apple, the back panel reflector uses a mirror pointed at the sun to direct solar rays towards a screen to supplement LED backlights with natural light. The patents also specify designs for future Macbooks topped with photovoltaic panels and plans for new solar cell assembly methods and apparatuses for assembling integrated circuit components to substrates.

These solar arrays can be used on small personal devices, enabling Apple devotees to use solar energy to recharge their future iPhones and iPads. Now, it is important to stress that these plans are still currently at the ‘patent stage’ – it will be years before we see this technology in our hands, but it’s good to know Apple is working on it. In an age when our personal devices are taking up a large chunk of our individual carbon footprints, it is reassuring to see technology companies looking at renewable and efficient ways to reduce them.

+ US Patent Office

Via PatentlyApple

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