A new technology is using solar energy to power household devices. The technology converts ambient light – light that is already present in a room –  to energy.

Solar Cells

California-based company Ambient Photonics revealed the technology and how it works at CES 2024 along with other revolutionary solar energy concepts. They use all-new bifacial solar cells to harvest light that is capable of powering devices. The company says solar cells can power things like remotes, keyboards, or computer mice.

Ambient Photonics’ goal is to replace batteries that are used in these home devices. The company expects the solar cell technology to revolutionize the way we power electronics. Bifacial solar cells take energy from the light in a room from both sides of the cell. The front side can produce 100% of the energy it harvests and the backside produces about 50%. Ambient Photonics says the devices powered by their cells can harvest three times more light than comparable concepts.

Bifacial solar cells harvest solar energy from both sides; Photo: Ambient Photonics

Charging Solar Cell Devices

Devices that are built with bifacial solar cells can charge wherever there is light. It doesn’t even have to be a bright room. The cells are capable of charging with low light. A major part of their creation. For example, a remote powered by solar cells can sit upside down in a lit room to charge. As for something like a keyboard, the design would ensure the light reflects from the front side of the solar cell to the back.

Additionally, Ambient Photonics is partnering with Primax Electronics to create an ambient light-powered computer mouse. The battery-free mouse is one of the concepts demonstrated at CES 2024. Using solar cells, the Primax Ambient Solar Mouse doesn’t need traditional batteries, it only needs ambient light. Because of the solar harvesting technology, the mouse has endless power from indoor light or light coming in from a window.

The company is optimistic about replacing batteries with solar energy. Ambient Photonics Co-Founder & CEO Bates Marshall says, “Solar power has long been an option for certain low-power electronics like calculators or toys, but it’s taken breakthrough science from Ambient Photonics to develop high-performance solar cell technology for mass-market devices.”