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Apple Patent Could Lead to Solar Powered MacBooks

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News Posted: Tue, Jan 28 2014 12:08 PM
Apple's just been granted a rather interesting patent for an "Electronic device display module," which is really a fancy way of describing a clever dual-sided laptop display with a solar panel on back. The front of the lid would house your typical LCD, though the backside would be constructed from electrochromic glass atop photovoltaic cells and touch sensors. In other words, it's a solar panel.

The idea, of course, is that the lid would pull energy from the sun to charge the laptop and/or offer longer battery life. That's not all Apple has in mind, however. As described in the patent filing, the light energy gathered could be used to illuminate the logo. Apple also envisions the rear of the lid being used for touch input commands like media controls, pass codes, and other uses.

Apple Lid Patent

"The rear plate may be formed from electrochromic glass. Photovoltaic cells may be located under the rear plate and may produce power when activated by an external light source. Touch sensors may be located under the rear plate and may gather touch input," Apple explains. "A control unit may be used to process touch commands on the rear plate to perform functions such as unlocking a magnetic latch that holds the upper housing to the lower housing."

Apple's MacBooks are obvious candidates for a patent like this, though Apple says it could also be implemented on tablets, mobile phones, and other handful devices, as well as things like monitors and televisions.
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basroil replied on Tue, Jan 28 2014 1:18 PM

Why does everyone keep saying "it's going to be solar powered" when nothing points to it? The cells are there for sensing, since you would need to cover both sides of the laptop and hold it perfectly parallel to the sun to even make enough juice to trickle charge the machine when it's off, and the extra space weight could have been used to have a larger battery!

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replied on Tue, Jan 28 2014 1:41 PM

Finally people will spend more time out charging their laptops :D

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lipe123 replied on Tue, Jan 28 2014 3:04 PM

Why do they need to patent everything always?

If your version of something is better than someone else' then yours will sell.

All patents like these do is say "we are doing this, it will probably suck but at least no one else gets a chance to do it better =P"

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Of course it'll sell if it's good. That's the problem; if you don't patent something good, then someone else might (will) steal your idea and sell products with the same concept and make money off of your ideas and research (which aren't cheap.)

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RiCoFrost replied on Tue, Jan 28 2014 5:00 PM

Did they get the idea from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udiH17HID5M

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lipe123 replied on Tue, Jan 28 2014 7:25 PM

There is no unique/new idea here, they are simply taking existing well researched things and putting them together.

Lets say company A patents pear juice and company B patents banana juice

Along comes Apple(the idiot patent troll company) and mixes the two juices in one bottle and patents that. It's freaking ridiculous that they even get the patent in the first place and then secondly they sue the two original companies and say they are infringing on their patent.

Laptop + solar panel is not new or rocket science. It's been done already with that OLPC project and similar ventures.

The only thing thats happening here is Apple is gearing up to make some money with patent lawsuits.

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3vi1 replied on Wed, Jan 29 2014 4:53 PM

That, or http://solaptop.com/en/products/laptops, or any of the other prior art. Of course, this is Apple... so it's bad form to point out the obviousness and prior art of it all.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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scolaner replied on Thu, Jan 30 2014 11:36 AM

I'm just glad that soon, there will be reason again to buy an Apple notebook in order to appear pretentious. It's been too long. ;)

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if you are finding it worthless to buy,then why to search for reasons?

If a product is dam good then there is no reason to leave it?

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This is what usually happens.

If we are not interested in making a legal use of patent laws,then many are waiting to misuse it.

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There is not any other way to protect the ideas except for patent.It is too common now to infringe the ideas of others.Either patent your ideas or let them infringed by others.See business method patents

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