Solar cell-Driven and Wifi-Functioned Clocks

What is the project?

By utilizing the organic solar cell technology, the project focuses on solar cell wifi clocks. With such features as semi-transparency, flexible, lightweight, and high indoor performance made from research conducted by HKUST, new clocks will make indoor facilities more efficient.

What is the problem this project is trying to address?

Today in UST campus, most clocks installed in classrooms or lecture theatres are inaccurate. The clocks on campus are Quartz clocks, which run slow for a few seconds every day. This will accumulate over time and result in poor accuracy for most clocks throughout campus. Also, the battery of the clocks has to be replaced every year. In fact, it is quite costly to make a systematic manpower plan to replace the batteries or maintain accurate time for all clocks.

With the photovoltaic effect of organic molecules, they created the material known as OPV (organic photovoltaic). Such material is thin, flexible, and can be made in various shape to collect and generate electricity from both indoors and outdoors. With this technology, the project team will replace these clocks using solar cell driven and Wi-Fi functioned clocks. Now the organic solar cell will provide power so there is no need to replace the battery anymore. The Wi-Fi function will allow the clocks to automatically correct their times every few days so that all the clocks on campus will be accurate for long term.

How does this project support our sustainable smart campus as a living lab vision?

Unlike the conventional method of using electricity from a power source, the new solar wifi clocks use clean and sustainable energy source to generate electricity. Researched directly from the campus, the project applies intelligent organic solar cell technology throughout the campus in an easily viewable form. As disposable batteries in campus as well as Hong Kong is a serious issue, such technology is an opportunity to not only decrease the waste but also educate the community about the use of smart, sustainable technology.

What's next?

After installing solar wifi clocks in upcoming year, this indoor project can expand to other devices including smoke detectors, remote controller, laser pointers, small detectors, electronic locks and etc. to constantly reduce battery waste in HKUST campus. Eventually, the project team will move on to outdoor applications in further stage.