Vivien Muller (previously) has created a new “plant,” Orkys. This one uses flexible photovoltaics as leaves to light what appears to be LEDs in in the flowers.
I prefer his previous work, PhotonSynthese more though. Aesthetically, it’s more pleasing with the brushed metal stems and the blue leaves, instead of the all black stem and leaves. However, the more flexible materials in Orkys makes it easier to introduce nitnol wires in the leaves for sun tracking. Also, PhotonSynthese does something, while Orkys just sits there and looks pretty. There’s no reason why you can’t have something like this do both.
For Core77‘s 2009 Greener Gadgets competition, Vincent Gerkens of Belgium applied photovoltaics (similar to the ones seen before) to one side of venetian blinds and a electroluminescent foil to the other side to create Blight. During the day, it blocks light, but at night it releases it (so to speak).
Knut Karlsen designed the above trickle charge some NiMH batteries with a wraparound flexible photovoltaics.
Completely impractical, but the idea of simply laying some depleted batteries out on a table to recharge does appeal to me.
Since the relaunch, almost every post references solar panels. Solar is often billed as a cure-all for our climate and energy needs, but as Knut links to photovoltaics themselves are nonrenewable due to rare elements required for their manufacture.
Vivien Muller designed this tabletop solar usb charger. Designed to resemble a bonsai tree, it comes with multiple interchangeable parts allowing one to groom the tree, so to speak.
I really like the finish on the metal trunk and how it contrasts with the blue photovoltaics. Solar trees, aren’t new idea, but rarely is it pulled off so stylishly. One thing that I think that would be pretty cool with one of these would be if the panels would move with relation to the light. If you were going to moving leaves, the movement really should be silent, perhaps with nitinol or something.