Imagine if you had a detachable solar energy window plug in the middle of your living room window that you could use to charge up any electrical apparatus you needed. And imagine if that nifty outlet was just big enough to fit in your pocket and was transportable – to your car, your boat or that fishing cabin in the woods that has a great bay window but, alas, no power.
Think you’d be interested?
If you said yes, you’re not alone. In fact, the window plug that was designed by Korean designers Kyuho Song and Boa Oh has been burning up the digital airwaves on at least three continents. After it was casually mentioned on Yanko Design last month, it received more than 600 comments (and still counting), was tweeted more than 2,000 times, has top-ended 25,000 Facebook “likes” and has been picked up and promoted by international publications including Huffington Post and Grist.
There’s only one problem with the gadget: It’s still in concept stage.
For the hundreds who wrote in wanting to know if they could buy it, test it, market it, buy stock in it or even help promote it, this small codicil went unnoticed. And many who were able to decipher the techie jargon that told readers that the charger was still very much on the drawing board, have been unfazed by its apparent limits.
“Can I get this with a different plug? I want to use it to power my electric car. I think two connected in Series should furnish enough power to run the car indefinitely,” said one confident reader.
“Excellent! I live in a bus! Where can I buy one? Or two or three?”
“I’ve got a funding offer to help you develop this innovation fully. Please contact me,” offered yet another.
Still others were equally confident that the apparatus, which in its current stage would not be able to power anything over a cell phone, would fail.
“Love the idea! Do you have one that is compatible with my data crystals and personal teleporter belt?”
Designers who wrote in explained the multiple reasons why the window plug in its current stage would not work, which largely had to do with the size of the solar panel. One reader was helpful enough to give an analogy that he thought would solve the problem:
“Make it as big as a piece of letter paper, and it would have enough power to charge a phone in an hour. USB is much more sensible than AC outlet.”
If the window plug’s limitations seemed discouraging, its concept certainly wasn’t. And that may say more about our techno-age “business sense” than any practical, hard data that the designers could have provided about their idealized prototype.
Isaac Asimov once wrote, “Science fiction writers foresee the inevitable.” Asimov should know: he often wrote stories about concepts that later became the seed for true discoveries.
Perhaps unproven concepts that snag the imagination of tens of thousands of readers in dozens of cultures and numerous languages is the digital-age equivalent. If so, I’ll go along with the reader who, amidst the darkest of projections from skeptics, added this gem of insight:
“This is the future. I hope you get this to the market as soon as possible. If these are gonna cost less than 100 bucks/piece, i’m gonna buy at least 10.”
Ditto that. I’ve got just the window in mind.
Images courtesy of Kyuho Song and Boa Oh.