Not only does the Smartflower look an awful lot like overgrown flora, it behaves that way, too. You see, Smartflower does what natural flowers already know to do — follow the sun. At sunrise, this next generation solar panel unfolds itself, and sets its “petals” at a 90-degree angle in order to capture and produce energy. As the sun moves across the sky, the Smartflower adjusts itself accordingly until the sun finally sets, at which point the panel puts itself to sleep, folding back into itself. Similarly, if environmental conditions are not conducive to energy production (high winds, rain, etc.), Smartflower will protect itself and keep itself folded.
The Smartflower’s ability to follow the sun’s position is thanks to its GPS-based dual axis tracking, and because it’s always situated in the most efficient position, it claims to produce 40 percent more energy than traditional solar powers. It also doesn’t hurt that the Smartflower is self-cleaning — tiny brushes go to work every time the panel unfolds itself, cleaning the petals, and thereby improving efficiency by 5 percent.
As it stands, American customers will be able to get their hands on a Smartflower in mid-April. Already, around 1,000 units have found new homes across Europe, with some powering individual homes, while others gracing public spaces like the Botanical Gardens in Madrid, and a cafe in the University of Applied Sciences Kufstein in Austria. You can learn more about the Smartflower (and how to get one yourself) here.
- You can now pre-order Urbanista’s solar-powered headphones
- The future of sustainability: A look at the next evolution of environmental tech
- Why the Mars InSight lander is covering itself in dirt
- Ring Wall Light Solar review: Sunshine all around, whenever you need it
- Cailifornia has a blackout problem. Could giant flow batteries be the solution?