VIDEO: Graduate Students Create Solar-Powered Batteries

A team of graduate students designed and constructed prototypes of rechargeable solar-powered batteries for their Design 401: Human-Centered Design course, and their design recently won honorable mention in the 2010 Dow Sustainability innovation Challenge.

These batteries, tentatively called "Helios" after the sun god of Greek mythology, are each equipped with small solar panels that recharge the battery when exposed to direct sunlight.

"We're trying to use solar energy to solve common everyday problems," said graduate student Akshay Thakker. "And one of the problems we see in today's world is that people use way too many batteries."

Other team members include:
- Zeke Markshausen
- Scott Aikin
- Lenore Kaplan

Team members say they still need to overcome the challenges that coincide with using solar power, such as poor efficiency, in order to develop a product that could replace hundreds of regular batteries that would normally be thrown into landfills across the country.

- Matthew Dalzell