Solar panels need plenty of sun to work well so why not carry them around on your head? That’s the slightly off-the-wall thinking behind this U.K.-based Kickstarter campaign aiming to produce a pair of solar headphones.
The OnBeat headphones have a flexible solar panel embedded around the band where it’ll be exposed to ample rays — assuming you’re wearing the headphones outdoors. The panel then charges a pair of lightweight lithium ion batteries located inside the ear cups, and there’s a USB port on one of the cups for outputting charge to the smartphone or tablet you want to keep topped up on the go.
Exactly how much charge you’re going to get from such a small panel is unclear — especially considering the entire panel is not going to be in full sun at once, being as it’s curved around your head. OnBeat’s creators say the solar cell has a surface area of 55cm3 with a charge capacity of approximately 0.55W.
The creators also claim the headphones can keep another device juiced up all day, albeit they’re not backing up that claim with any sample charging data yet. It seems likely the output is only going to be enough to keep your phone or tablet ticking over rather than fully charging it, so manage your expectations accordingly. The headphones themselves can also be charged via USB from a computer or mains socket if you want to make sure their batteries contain a full power charge when setting out.
On the audio side, the headphones have the following vital statistics:
Audio driver unit size: 40mm
Impedance: 32 +/- 10% Ohm
Frequency response: 20hz to 20,000Khz
Sensitivity: 100 +/- 3 dB
OnBeat’s creators say they are taking to Kickstarter to seek funds in order to be able to pay for a large enough initial production run to hit their manufacturer’s minimum order. Which means they are seeking a rather ambitious £200,000 ($298,000) to get their solar headphones off the ground and onto people’s heads. RRP is intended to be around £119.00 per pair, but it has multiple pledge tiers offering the headphones for a lot less, starting from £69.