This origami-inspired solar panel offers travelers portable power on the go

Its origami-based design allows it to fit neatly into a backpack, duffel bag, cargo box, or suitcase, as well as beneath the front car seat. 
Mrigakshi Dixit
Origami-based solar panel prototype.
Origami-based solar panel prototype.

Sego Innovations 

Origami has been driving innovations, paving the way for developing cutting-edge tech solutions.

Sego Innovations, a Utah-based start-up, is currently working on developing a packable solar charger for travel reasons.

The company highlighted that this renewable off-grid power system's key specifications include ultra-portability, the ability to be put up anywhere, and efficiency. Sego panel’s estimated weight is around 3 lb (1.4 kg). 

Its origami-based solar panel design allows it to fit neatly into a backpack, duffel bag, cargo box, or suitcase and beneath the front car seat. 

“Origami, the art of folding paper into intricate shapes and patterns, provides engineers with techniques to create structures that are ultra-compact, strong and stable, yet light and flexible, which is ideal for applications in space or medical devices,” mentions the company’s website

In recent years, this origami-based technique has been applied in various applications ranging from space telescope mirrors to watercraft to unfold objects on demand as and when needed. Origami also enables the storage of items in less space and in a much more cost-effective manner. 

The specifications of this new solar panel product

The model is powered by SunPower monocrystalline solar cells, which provide 25 watts of charging in ideal sun conditions. 

The hexagonal-shaped panel is 7.5 in (19 cm) square and is more than an inch (2.5 cm) thick. When expanded, it gives a total surface area of 2.56 square feet (0.24 sq m).

The solar cells have an ETFE covering to endure harsh weather and UV exposure. The high-pressure fiberglass laminate substrate is durable, making it appropriate for frequent outdoor use. Various joints, hinges, and magnets produce smooth folding and unfolding.

The panel's backside is outfitted with a USB-C port charger module, allowing you to connect straight to a charging device.

The company estimates that a smartphone can be charged in one to two hours, while a tablet in three to four hours — depending on sun conditions.

The solar panel is supported by a solid two-legged stand that can resist severe winds and be put on uneven terrain. 

At the moment, Sego has only built a prototype of this small and space-saving solar panel and is working to finalize the commercial version. 

Reportedly, in addition to this basic prototype model, Sego Innovations offers a premium variant built using a carbon fiber substrate rather than fiberglass. It is considered stiffer and lighter, weighing around 2.5 lb (1.1 kg). 

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