POC has launched the Omne Eternal, a “self-powered bicycle helmet” that integrates solar technology into the shell, which is charged using ambient light to power a rear light.
The helmet uses Powerfoyle, a “light harvesting material” that, like other solar cells, can convert any light source into electrical energy. This is integrated into three panels on the top of the helmet.
Unsurprisingly, the Powerfoyle website doesn’t detail exactly how the technology works. However, the main selling point seems to be that it is charged more efficiently by ambient light (even from a light bulb) than a traditional solar panel, which works best with direct sunlight.
The energy generated is then used to power an automatically controlled taillight that is built into the back of the helmet.
This light is fed solely by the solar cell and is completely passive, so that there is neither a charging cable nor a power switch. When you put the helmet on your head, the light is activated. How exactly this works is not specified.
According to the POC: “When used outdoors on an average mixed cloud day, the helmet battery gains about twice as much energy as the light”.
POC added that as an example, if you wanted to do an epic 10 hour overnight drive, “it would take so long and once the morning came it would recharge while you were using it”.
The helmet itself is based on the POC Omne Air SPIN, a racing bike helmet that is also offered as a pendulum / city helmet. We reviewed this helmet in 2020 and praised it for its comfortable fit and excellent ventilation.
The helmet costs € 250 (international prices TBC) and will be available from June 2021.
While the helmet is an interesting first showcase for technology, Powerfoyle boldly boasts of the technology of “turning outside and inside light into clean, endless energy for all”. Could this be the end of cell phone charging?
If we look back on cycling, will we see a bike glued into that stuff that is used to charge electric drives? Don’t we ever have to worry about charging Di2 again? Only time can tell.