• Powerfoyle is a new solar cell material that disguises itself as various materials like leather or plastic
  • With its higher power efficiency, Powerfoyle can power devices with greater demand, like Urbanista's wireless ANC headphone
  • This provides a sustainable, viable and untethered alternative power source for future electronic gadgets

With the advancement of connected battery-powered electronics and applications stretching from automobiles to mobile phones, the biggest point of stagnation has to be the battery. Though there are incremental improvements in the commonly used Lithium-ion batteries, and various tech teams claiming for years that they have the 'next big thing' like solid-state batteries, there haven't really been many true game changers that have actually reached consumers.

Sweden-based Exeger's new solar power technology is, therefore, the first 'real' revolution that I have seen in a consumer product, that is actually making a leap in battery life. Rather than attacking the power storage end of the equation, it solves the battery limitation problem by providing constant recharge using the power of the sun.

Powerfoyle is a new type of solar cell that is not just a concept, but is already commercially available and is making its way into consumer products. How does Powerfoyle differ from existing solar power solutions, and will it really revolutionize the electronics industry?

The Urbanista Los Angeles is already available for consumers, its headband incorporates Powerfoyle which provides a virtually endless supply of power from the sun IBTimes / Jeff Li

Solar Panels in Disguise

Just as ambitious as Tesla's Solar Roof that aims to end the days of solar panels ruining the aesthetics of a house, the Powerfoyle's stealthiness is the main reason for its genius. Instead of the traditional, rigid, glass-like solar cells, the Powerfoyle solar cells are both flexible and can appear like other materials.

What Powerfoyle coined as 'hide-tech', is a flexible material that can be made into various shapes and incorporated into the body of the products. POC's Omne Eternal Helmets for example appears just like a conventional helmet, but in fact, has Powerfoyle which charges its LED light

POC’s Omne Eternal Helmets uses the embedded Powerfoyle to charge up its internal batteries by day, to power the LED by night Exeger

Power Efficiency for Modern Devices

It's not that solar-powered gadgets didn't exist before. Everyone's had a solar-powered calculator in their life at some point, otherwise, you might have seen a Logitech K750 Solar Keyboard, or a Citizen Eco-drive watch. But all these devices have very low power demand, and none of them are 'smart'.

So it's quite a different story when Powerfoyle appears on a wireless headphone with active noise canceling (ANC) in the Urbanista Los Angeles. Given, this is not meant to be the only means to charge the headphone, as Los Angeles also has a standard USB-C port. But the idea is to extend the 80-hour battery reserve so much that the charging port will barely get any use.

With our hands-on review of the Urbanista Los Angeles, 2 hours under the sun recharged a fully empty headphone to 40% power. So with Powerfoyle, it's not just some trickling of power, but there is significant recharge that when used under the sun will provide serious prolongment of battery life - theoretically perpetual and never needing to be plugged in again.

Step Towards Fully Untethered Power

Wireless charging is a solid attempt to free smart devices from cables, but the recharging pad still needs a charging cable to be connected to a charger. With the Powerfoyle, it is essentially a new power source other than the wall socket, that enables any product to be powered while completely eliminating the need for a charging port.

Powerfoyle is now working steadily through partnerships to expand its application. Through a partnership with OSM Group, we should be seeing upcoming engineered soft goods like backpacks and handbags that have some sort of power storage that is continuously topped up with integrated solar cells into its leather outer. Companies including Adidas and Blue Tiger have headphones/headsets that incorporate Powerfoyle in its headband that will be a varied take on what Urbanista is doing with Los Angeles.

Powerfoyle tech_Illustration
The Powerfoyle is a high efficiency solar cell in disguise Exeger

Final Verdict

Powerfoyle is providing a viable, alternative power source to smart devices than the traditional charging port. Though there have been past solar power applications, the efficacy kicks it up a notch, and we should be seeing smart devices with higher power demand receive a significant power boost.

With Powerfoyle's potential to truly change the consumer electronics game, we're awarding it with the IBTimes Best of CES badge.