Wireless computer peripherals are awesome. Cords are already plentiful enough in our lives. Which is why I'm a big fan of wireless keyboards and mice. Just plug a receiver into a USB port, and your mouse and keyboard will work anywhere in the room. A worthwhile investment.
Unfortunately, that means that your mouse and keyboard will require batteries. And batteries need to be replaced or recharged. Replacing batteries means toxic waste and recharging them means MORE CORDS!!!
Which is why I can't believe no one has been able to develop solar powered wireless mice yet. Wireless solar keyboards are simpler, because they require much less power and have more surface area. But wireless solar mice are finally being developed, and I'm very happy to hear it.
The solar mouse (called the Sole Mio) was designed over four years at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. You can check out their full press release at their website.
Over time it is estimated that several hundred million batteries could be saved annually on a global scale. The net environmental benefit is still restricted by the high energy content of current PV cells. However the introduction of new types of cheap and energy-extensive PV cells, on which TU Delft and partners are working, would eventually yield an even higher environmental gain.
Unfortunately, so far it seems like the solar panels don't provide quite enough power to keep the little guys running. In tests, it's been shown that they have to be stored on a window ledge in order to keep them charged up. And, of course, long stints with the panels covered by the hand (as of course they will be during use) shortens battery life significantly. Looks like we're going to need either more efficient solar panels or less power-hungry mice. Luckily, I can guarantee you both of those things are on the way.
-Solar Powered Laptop Case-
-Solar Powered Cell Phone-
-Solar Powered MP4 Player-