electree+, as this futuristic solar charger is called, will be able to power not only through induction, but also via classic USB.
Most solar energy harvesting chargers feature a bland and unappealing design. The developers of electree+ intend to change all that, by combining functionality and aesthetics into one single product. The project is currently listed on Kickstarter, where the makers of the solar bonsai hope to obtain $200,000, in order to contract at least 1,000 chargers after enlisting a US-based manufacturer.
Each of the 27 branches of electree+ includes a high-quality amorphous-silicon square solar panel measuring approximately 3.7″ in width. The apex of the solar bonsai is at around 16 inches high. Considering that electree+ will cost $250 if the project gets funded, I wish it was bigger. However, given the relatively high number of panels and the high capacity of the enclosed battery (14,000mAh), the price might be justified.
As French designer Vivien Muller stated: “Nature has selected over millions of years the most efficient structures to capture solar energy. The tree’s shape is thus the best means to take advantage of solar energy. While studying fractals, I realized that one could draw a tree by repeating and transforming a basic pattern.”
electree+ comes with two USB ports: one with 1A, adequate for smarphones, and one with 2A, which should used for charging tablets. In addition, the charger may come with an optional Qi wireless charging zone that uses inductive electrical power transfer to charge smartphones such as Samsung Galaxy S3. Even though the iPhones do not charge in this manner, there are Qi-enabled sleeves out there for these devices. More than that, the black baseplate may come with an a 1K NFC chip that would trigger certain actions on NFC-capable smartphones and tablets.
To fully charge, electree+ requires around 36 hours of sunlight. In other words, to charge an average smartphone, the solar bonsai will need about 4 hours of exposure to sunlight. Because of the unobtrusive design, I assume that people will not mind having electree+ around, especially since they will also be able to save energy, this way.
At the moment this post was written, 54 backers pledged $10,792, out of the $200,000 goal. However, the project will be featured for 36 more days on Kickstarter, so maybe the developers will get the necessary support, so that electree+ enters mass production.