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Mobile Accessories

Solar headphones charge your phone while you jam

Headphones fitted with a stylish solar panel restore the power lost when playing music on your smartphone.

Headphones fitted with a stylish solar panel restore the power lost when playing music on your smartphone.

(Credit: Andrew Anderson)

Even the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry, and everyone has experienced that moment of dread upon seeing the red zone in a smartphone battery bar. Portable charging devices can help — although not if you've forgotten to charge that, too. And while solar chargers exist, they do mean that you might have to find somewhere in the sun for half an hour to get your phone operational again.

The OnBeat Solar Headphones by Andrew Anderson solve that problem in style. The over-ear headphones are fitted with a flexible solar panel across the band that means you can use them to charge while on the go — and listening to music.

The panel has a charge capacity of around 0.55W, which is a little on the slow side, more to keep your battery life level than to charge it up completely. However, even when they're not being used to charge your phone, they can still draw down power, storing it in two lithium-ion batteries housed in the earpieces. A port on one of the earpieces also allows you to store up power via USB for cloudy days.

Although the creator hasn't divulged times or statistics, the Kickstarter page makes the claim that the headphones can provide a full battery recharge for a mobile phone.

They look to deliver pretty decent sound, too, with 40mm audio drivers, an impedance of 32 +/- 10% Ohms, frequency response of 20hz to 20,000Khz and sensitivity of 100 +/- 3dB.

You can reserve a pair on Kickstarter for the early bird price of £69 (around AU$113) plus £20 (AU$33) shipping, with an expected delivery date in February next year.