What’s really important here is that a solar cell has become a receiver for high-speed wireless signals encoded in light, while it maintains its primary function as an energy-harvesting device. That’s why it is possible to use existing solar cells on the roof of a hut to act as a broadband receiver from a laser station on a close by hill, or indeed, lamp post.
And it really doesn’t matter where the beam hits the solar cell. And the same is true for translucent solar cells integrated into windows, solar cells integrated into street furniture, or indeed, solar cells integrated into these billions of devices that will form the Internet of Things. Because simply, we don’t want to charge these devices regularly, or worse, replace the batteries every few months.
As I said to you, this is the first time I’ve shown this in public. It’s very much a lab demonstration, a prototype. But my team and I are confident that we can take this to market within the next two to three years. And we hope we will be able to contribute to closing the digital divide, and also contribute to connecting all these billions of devices to the Internet. And all of this without causing a massive explosion of energy consumption — because of the solar cells, quite the opposite.