[IDF 2011] Earlier today, Intel showed us a computer processor (CPU) that was running on solar energy from a single small solar cell. Although Intel didn’t provide the specific voltage numbers, it’s not hard to imagine that a solar cell can only generate very little energy. Anyone who has tried to charge a smartphone (or even an AAA battery) with solar energy knows this all too well.Being able to run Windows with so little is quite amazing, and we’re anxious to see this research applied to actual products. Reducing the level of power consumption when the computer is just keeping the system alive is critical to extending battery life because most of the time, the computer is doing exactly that: nothing. It can be hard to imagine, but when you are typing on the keyboard, the CPU is actually going into “sleep” mode in-between your key strokes.
Note: only the CPU was powered by the solar energy, while the rest of the motherboard was plugged to a regular power supply. It is still amazing, but having the whole system run on a single solar cell would have been… “magical”, lol.