Smartwatches promise to make our lives easier and more efficient, but there’s a drawback. While traditional watches can run for months or even years, the battery life on most smartwatches is typically one to three days. A watch that harvests energy from outside sources could run indefinitely without batteries or recharging. We have already covered the Matrix PowerWatch that is powered by body heat. Now comes news of the LunaR Hybrid Mechanical Smartwatch, which claims to be the world’s first solar powered smartwatch.
The LunaR smartwatch is powered by a transparent solar panel from solar technology company Sunpartner Technologies. The solar panel watch face harvests energy from natural and artificial light, keeping the watch fully functional with as little as one hour of daily exposure to light, according to the company. (A traditional inductive charger is included as a backup.) LunaR features notifications for texts, calls and social media, in addition to tracking steps, distance, calories and sleep data. The smartwatch is water resistant up to 50 meters and offers automatic dual time zone timekeeping through a connected smartphone app. It tracks sunrise and sunset times, and alerts wearers when it’s time to get outside for sun exposure and a recharge, or what LunaR calls “light encouragement.” The combination of an attractive mechanical watch integrated with smartwatch functionality make it a hybrid. LunaR is a startup founded by technology provider MED USA, which creates connected devices that promote health and wellness. The company launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for the watch on September 19th, raising over $127,820 from 691 backers at the time of this article.
One of the biggest barriers to wearable technology is the need to recharge devices frequently. The LunaR Hybrid Mechanical Smartwatch’s solar technology is a promising advance in functional wearables that offer all the advantages of a smartwatch without the need for batteries or recharging. And because the solar panel watch face requires only 60 minutes of sunlight to recharge, the wearer has a great excuse to get outdoors for an hour a day.