The idea that an indoor writing surface could charge your small electronic devices by way of solar panels may seem far-fetched, considering that most solar panels require direct sunlight to function. But ‘Current Table’ by Dutch designer Marjan van Aubel not only produces power from diffused indoor light, it does so stylishly with a minimalist, modern design.
The workstation generates energy from daylight in a method similar to the process of photosynthesis carried out by plants. The glass panels comprising the surface of the table contain dye-synthesized solar cells that use the properties of color to create an electrical current.
Small particles of titanium dioxide are placed on a piece of transparent glass, which is then dyed orange, helping them absorb sunlight more efficiently. Electrons stored in the titanium dioxide are released in the presence of sunlight, creating an electrical current that can either be used to charge a phone or mp3 player via USB or stored in a battery for later.
Of course, the more sunlight is present, the faster each of the solar cells will generate energy. It takes one cell about eight hours to fully charge a battery, and there are four cells for each USB port. The designer envisions the table in use at libraries, restaurants and meeting rooms to provide small amounts of power for gadgets without the need for wiring.