The reason airplane window shades have to be raised during takeoff is a valid one: the natural light helps your eyes adjust quickly in case there’s an emergency.
But thanks to a new solar technology, we’ve got an equally valid reason for you to throw those bad boys down once you’re in the air.
Designed by B/E Aerospace’s Advanced Design Group for the Spark Concept competition, the Solar Eclipse system harnesses the power of the sun’s rays to allow window-seat passengers to charge their mobile devices. The system uses micro solar panels integrated into the window shades to collect energy that can be fed back into the plane for storage or sent out via window-side USB ports.
“The Solar Eclipse brings DC power directly to passengers where no power exists,” B/E Aerospace said in a brief about the system. “Super efficient thin film solar cells integrated into the window shade convert the high-solar irradiation available at altitude into 8-44 watts of energy.”
According to B/E, the solar shades are easy to install, weigh only slightly more than standard models and harness enough extra power to generate fuel savings of over 7,300 gallons per year and reduce 154,000 pounds of CO2 emissions.
Window Seat 1, Aisle Seat 0.
Middle Seat was disqualified upon conception.