Garmin files a patent for a screen with integrated solar charging



Already integrated into the Garmin Fenix ​​and Instinct, Garmin’s Power Glass solar technology is so far incompatible with the manufacturer’s Amoled screen watches. A new patent shows that Garmin is indeed seeking to lift this constraint.

Although they are more and more enduring, connected watches still have an Achilles heel: autonomy. Since the capacity of the battery remains limited to the volume available in the watch, Garmin has been integrating a solar charging technology called Power Glass for several years, allowing you to gain a few hours of autonomy. A technology whose efficiency has improved over the generations, but which is unfortunately not integrated into the manufacturer’s Amoled screen watches, which nevertheless would clearly benefit from it since they precisely consume more energy to maintain their beautiful display. contrasting for days. A story of incompatibility which explains, according to Garmin, why its Epix Gen 2 watch is not available in a Solar version, unlike the Fenix ​​7 on which it is based, but which must be satisfied with a transflective LCD screen.

Garmin Epix Gen 2

Introductory price €799.99

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The American manufacturer, however, has not said its last word and is still working on the issue, as evidenced by the patent it recently filed. In particular, it is explained that the semi-transparent photovoltaic panels currently integrated into various devices “degrade the visibility of the display module“, which justifies “the need for an integrated energy harvesting display module that harvests solar energy without significantly obscuring its display“.

The layout of the photovoltaic cells of the solar layer would be reviewed here. Unlike Power Glass, which consists of a translucent photovoltaic film which is affixed to the screen and whose opaque edge contains most of the photovoltaic cells, the technology presented in the new patent is integrated more deeply into the screen and plays in particular on the arrangement of the sub-pixels that compose it. If we immediately see the interest in the Amoled display technology which for the moment is not associated with solar charging, the patent specifies that it can also be LCD technology or even Micro- LEDs.

A photovoltaic composite material (240) sandwiched between two sub-pixels (242).  ©Garmin

A photovoltaic composite material (240) sandwiched between two sub-pixels (242). ©Garmin

The photovoltaic cells would in any case be inserted between the sub-pixels, so as not to block their light and therefore without darkening the display. Enough to keep bright colors and avoid having to boost the brightness, which would be counterproductive for a technology that should precisely be used to produce energy.

The patent may use a watch as an illustrative image, but it can relate to a whole bunch of products containing a display. We think in particular of GPS bikes which would greatly benefit from using solar charging technology and even an AMOLED screen. Hopefully the principles described in this patent will materialize soon.


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