At the Eco Products 2010 exhibition in Tokyo this past weekend, Sony showed intentions to bring new meaning to the phrase "flower power" with this beautifully designed Hana Mado, or "Flower Window." The device is actually a dye-sensitized solar cell (DSSC) which converts light into electrical energy.
For the purposes of the demonstration, Sony attached a small fan to the device to show how it continuously generates power. When the light is blocked, the fan stops spinning. Hana Mado is exciting for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that the technology costs less than other solar tech, and is easy to install in already existing buildings.
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The smart design is very aesthetically pleasing too, using screen printing to generate custom designs according to the consumer's preference. Other colors are available for use as well, not just the green and yellow you see in the picture above.
Building solar cells into windows is obviously a brilliant idea. We've covered similar solutions here on Gizmag before, most notably Kyosemi Corporation's Sphelar cells, which used silicon droplets embedded in glass to absorb light from all directions.
Sony's representative told us that he could not say when these cells would be commercially available, but it is encouraging to see this prototype finally on display. The company made news back in 2008 when it announced that that development of DSSC with 10 percent energy conversion efficiency had been achieved.