The smart watch is a piece of wearable technology that has actually worked. Unlike the multitude of other ‘connected’ pieces of clothing we see, like socks that track your workout or Google’s ghastly Glass, the smartwatch has proved useful, and in recent years increasingly attractive.
Watch design is an art form honed over thousands of years, and the engineering to make these amazing analogue timepieces is equally extraordinary. However, just when you think that pretty much all of the designs, materials and colour combinations have been exhausted, throw in digital technology and you’re pretty much back to square one. Such has the excitement been of watch designers worldwide that they finally have something new to work with, the output of smart watches has been incredible. In a few short years they have gone from clunky boxes only the geekiest would wear to sleek design-led objects of desire. The new ‘hybrid’ styles that combine analogue design and hidden digital technology have become firm favourites with the more style conscious.
However, as with all electric tech it is held back by the same problem, battery life. If someone could solve the storage of energy the world would be full of clean green fantastic machines tomorrow, but it’s seeming a tough nut to crack. Battery technology has undoubtedly come a long way, especially when you consider the power that some pieces of tech consume, but we’re still plagued with short battery life almost everywhere, and smart watches are just the same.
A new watch called the LunaR aims to tackle this, with the 110 mAh battery charged by a small solar panel making up the dial of the watch. While this might not seem like a huge step forward, it’s impressive that the watch can power itself from such a small charging surface. It’s yet to be long term tested as to whether it can keep this level of voltage generation up, but it’s a promising start and hopefully a marker for other companies.
We have seen signs of a green turn in the smart watch industry, with other brands such as Fossil and Hugo Boss Black watches looking at incorporating solar tech into their watches. In the way that smart watches have driven technology on by the demand for smaller parts, we can hope that the demand for ever more efficient solar charging drives that technology to become more efficient.