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Thread: Future MacBooks to Be Lit (and Recharged) by the Sun

  1. #1
    MMi Staff Writer Paul Daniel Ash's Avatar
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    Default Future MacBooks to Be Lit (and Recharged) by the Sun


    In an interesting patent application revealed this week, Apple describes a way to backlight notebook screens using a reflector to direct ambient light to the display. The patent application, filed in September of 2008, also references a way that the same apparatus could be used to focus light on solar cells that would recharge the device's battery.

    The experience of trying to read a notebook screen in bright light is pretty common: no matter how good the backlighting on the display, or how high-contrast the screen image is, sometimes it's just too washed out to be any use. Apple proposes, in this patent application, a sort of fight-fire-with-fire approach: you'd deploy an extendable, flexible reflector called a "light harness" that would collect ambient light and focus it on a translucent panel on the back of the notebook's lid. This concentrated illumination would always be brighter than the ambient light falling on the reflector, rendering the screen visible in even the harshest lighting conditions so long as the back of the screen is pointed toward the light source.

    In addition to making the screen clearer, this invention would also extend battery power in one or two ways. First, by eliminating the additional power draw of an LCD backlight, the reflector would keep your battery for being drained, and secondly - in a possible usage alluded to in the text of the patent - the collected light could also be directed at a solar panel (perhaps one of the transparent ones shown in a previous Apple patent) to charge the battery. Some "embodiments" of the reflection could include a reflector that automagically turns to face the sun to gather the most light possible.

    It's not at all clear when - or if - this invention would be coming to a MacBook, or if it would be backward-compatible (for example, directing light at the Apple logo on the MacBook lid). It also looks like some careful engineering would be necessary to make the flimsy-looking reflector durable enough for road warriors. However, a solar MacBook (or even a more efficient one) would be attractive to a lot of users… with a MacBook and a tethered iPhone, you could go anywhere.
    Last edited by Paul Daniel Ash; 03-25-2010 at 12:00 PM. Reason: typo

  2. #2
    I'm thinking this is another one for Apple's patents-that-don't-make-it-past-the-drawing-board pile. But as always, I sure HOPE not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by n00neimp0rtant View Post
    I'm thinking this is another one for Apple's patents-that-don't-make-it-past-the-drawing-board pile. But as always, I sure HOPE not.
    It probably wont make it past the drawing board, but i wouldnt mind this since i do use my laptop outside a lot. And Apple will look more "green" since that is the current fad these days

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    iPhone? More like MyPhone Bluprint's Avatar
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    I would rather have a removable case made outta this.. now that i thought about it, i should patent my case so apple won't steal it...hmm
    Last edited by Bluprint; 03-25-2010 at 01:22 PM.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by n00neimp0rtant View Post
    I'm thinking this is another one for Apple's patents-that-don't-make-it-past-the-drawing-board pile. But as always, I sure HOPE not.
    Hahaha Well it could be useful just in case I ever find myself stranded on an island with no power and need to e-mail for help hmmmmmm wait no that wouldnt work.
    Oh wait I got it, I could charge my iphone through usb from my solar powered laptop and then I could call for help! Wait no that wont work either, T-Mobile! no service on my island

    I got it! When I fulfill my dream of being a trail guide through the grand canyon this would be awesome! Now it all makes sense, or does it?

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by n00neimp0rtant View Post
    I'm thinking this is another one for Apple's patents-that-don't-make-it-past-the-drawing-board pile. But as always, I sure HOPE not.
    You don't file a patent for a technology you're not going to use.
    This tech will be used in a future apple product probably sometime in the somewhat near future (a year or so).

  7. #7
    So this is a way of making thier already over-priced products more expensive?

  8. #8
    "future" ...well thats helpfull

  9. #9
    Livin the iPhone Life sziklassy's Avatar
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    There is a technology I was reading about for cell phones that is essentially akin to this. My theory? Apple wants to patent it to laptops with the hopes that when it comes to be mainstream nobody else can use it for the same application.
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    I once prayed to God for an iPhone, but quickly found out He didn't work that way...so I stole an iPhone and prayed for His forgiveness.

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  10. #10
    So...you'd have to be facing the sun to use your notebook. That sounds fun..

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Bluprint View Post
    I would rather have a removable case made outta this.. now that i thought about it, i should patent my case so apple won't steal it...hmm
    Good luck with that!

    Quote Originally Posted by Risingstar View Post
    You don't file a patent for a technology you're not going to use.
    This tech will be used in a future apple product probably sometime in the somewhat near future (a year or so).
    Apple patents lots of stuff they know they won't use though! It keeps us hackers wondering about what they will do next!

    Everyone is so sarcastic about it!
    Last edited by DisneyRicky; 03-25-2010 at 06:30 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  12. #12
    funny shiz bro....

  13. #13
    Livin the iPhone Life sziklassy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Risingstar View Post
    You don't file a patent for a technology you're not going to use.
    This tech will be used in a future apple product probably sometime in the somewhat near future (a year or so).
    Clearly sir you are not in tune with the patents in this day and age. Plenty of patents don't see the light of day.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I once prayed to God for an iPhone, but quickly found out He didn't work that way...so I stole an iPhone and prayed for His forgiveness.

    A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself. - Josh Billings

  14. #14
    hey i got something right now that can be lit up by the sun!

    oh wait, that's everything, news flash people, the sun creates light

  15. #15
    interesting concept. this could only be beneficial as secondary system functions and could never be the default. could you imagine allways having to turn towards the light to see your screen illuminate. solar cells for secondary charging abilities is ahead of its time. thats the only thing i can see becoming reality out of this article.
    killall Terminal[]

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by chapelfreak View Post
    It probably wont make it past the drawing board, but i wouldnt mind this since i do use my laptop outside a lot. And Apple will look more "green" since that is the current fad these days
    Green you say. You have NO idea how ungreen making solar panels is, As I sit here monitoring the line of a 150MW solar panel factory.

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