Jessica Leigh Hester is a former senior associate editor at CityLab, covering environment and culture. Her work also appears in the New Yorker, The Atlantic, New York Times, Modern Farmer, Village Voice, Slate, BBC, NPR, and other outlets.
Power up your phone with a solar charger you can stash in your pocket.
Forgot your wall charger and find yourself out of juice on the go? You can avoid this snag by hooking a new razor-thin solar panel to your bag, so it’s harnessing power while you’re walking around.
Developed by design firm YOLK, Solar Paper chargers are slim and lightweight enough to tuck in between the pages of a book. (They measure 0.15 inch thick, and weigh just 4 ounces.) The compact device folds up for nearly-flat storage, but can also expand to maximize surface area, thanks to magnets and silicon connectors.
On a sun-drenched day, the charger can juice up an iPhone 6 in 2.5 hours. Clouds slow it down a bit, but the device keeps working. A built-in LCD amp meter updates in real-time, so you can always see how much current is flowing from the charger to your phone.
The device can recharge any gadget with a USB port, such as tablets and cameras. Generally speaking, the larger the device, the more solar panels you’ll need to charge it efficiently. That’s why the chargers have either two, three, or four panels, generating between five and ten watts. You can add panels to juice up a tablet, or subtract them to power up a cell phone.
Solar Papers will start shipping this September.
Solar-powered cell phone charger, $79 preorder on Kickstarter.