Researchers in Germany have developed solar sunglasses using technology that could transform the way buildings are powered.

The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) team demonstrated the potential of the organic solar cells, which are lightweight, flexible and can be manufactured in shapes and colours that suit a specific scenario – on a pair of sunglasses. It is an innovative example of how clean energy can be incorporated into mobile applications. Even in office conditions these glasses would generate enough energy to power devices like a hearing aid.

“We bring solar power to places where other solar technologies fail,” explained Dr Alexander Colsmann, Head of Organic Photovoltaics Group at KIT’s Light Technology Institute (LTI).

Colsmann envisages a future where windows in high-rise buildings are coated in organic solar cells.