Swarovski, the jewellery company best known for its beautiful blue crystallised accessories, has perhaps solved the wearables battery problem.

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Swarovski has partnered with Misfit (the company that created the Misfit Shine) to bring you the Swarovski Shine, a wearable tracking device that uses crystals to solar charge.

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How It All Started

In 2009 Swarovski released a crystal encrusted LED watch.

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The watch was stunning but, despite its simplicity, it had to be charged at least once a day. The fact that it had such poor battery life made the watch impractical. Joan Ng, vice-president of marketing at Swarovski, realised that the bad battery life was a problem and instructed the company’s research and development team to come up with a solution. Turns out the solution to the wearables battery problem was something Swarovski specialised in: crystals.

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What started as a project to develop energy-saving crystals for LED watches became a solution to the wearables battery problem when Hg realised that the technology could be expanded beyond LED watches.

Fast forward to 2015 and Swarovski has abandoned the LED watch idea and have applied their crystal technology to an activity tracker.

How It Works

According to Ng, Swarovski is “in the business of light”, which is great when it comes to solar energy.

Crystals have the ability to concentrate light, a feature that makes them perfect to be used to charge solar panels. Blue Swarovski crystals are angled strategically and placed in such a way that the optimal amount of light is directed to solar panels underneath the crystals.

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In order for solar panels to charge their cells, they need to be exposed to perpendicular light. Swarovski is using crystals to expose solar panels to perpendicular light and have therefore been able to completely eliminate the need for charging the device. You just need to make sure you expose the Swarovski Shine to at least 15 min of sunlight everyday or very strong in-door lights in order for it to work.

It is really surprising that such an innovative solution to the wearables battery life problem would come from such a non-tech company, especially since Apple didn’t even touch on the battery life of the Apple Watch.