When what you need can’t be provided and when it is not yet available, the best thing to do is to innovate. This seems like the principle behind the invention of the OnBeat headphones whose creator, Andrew Anderson, admitted that the USB solar charging headphones are a result of his frustration on the low battery life of his phone. Now a Kickstarter campaign, OnBeat is looking for interested investors to raise the money needed for its mass production.
Naturally, the more you use your smartphone, the more energy it consumes and hence, less time for you to use your phone. But with the OnBeat headphones, juicing up your phone is much more convenient. This is because OnBeat contains a flexible solar cell which is incorporated into the headband and connected to two rechargeable lithium batteries on each of the cups. Solar energy is collected by the headphones so that it can transfer energy to your plugged phone. Yes, the headphones then are your portable charger!
To use the headphones, a USB connector is plugged into a USB port found at the base of the ear cup. This is different from the headphone jack which is found on the other ear cup. This means that while you can use your headphone for listening music or watching video, you can also use it to charge your other device. Ultimately, this USB port also allows the user to charge the headphones via a computer or power outlet when solar power is unavailable. The point, really, is that you are able to use your phone all day without the hassle of having to find a place where to charge.
Anderson, a Glasgow-based audio engineer, said he started to create a prototype in 2012 where he attached a solar panel to an old headphone. Finding that it works, he then began to work on the flexible solar cell that ended up with a surface area of 55 cubic cm. This solar cell is made from poly-crystalline silicone and has a capacity to charge about 0.55W. According to Anderson, this capability allows for a full recharge of a cellular phone.
For listening, they’re not bad at all. According to Anderson, the OnBeat headphones have a sensitivity of 100 +/- dB, audio impedance of 32 +/- 10% Ohm, and a frequency response ranging from 20 Hz to 20,000 KHz. With this capacity, it’s even fitting for DJs and pros who use headphones as part of their daily functions.
Finally, for an even better user experience, an integrated remote that controls the volume of the ears is found on the headphones.
At £119 ($178), you may be able to get a hold of this innovation come February next year. But that is, of course, if Anderson is able to pull off the £200,000 ($297,100 approx.) he is trying to raise via Kickstarter.