The American giant is pausing to invest in Swedish solar cell technology

The American sound company JBL planned to integrate solar cells from Swedish Exeger into their headphones. But now the work is paused.

Ny Teknik has previously reported on JBL’s Reflect Eternal headphones, where solar cells from Exeger would be placed in the scalp. In this way, the wireless headphones would be charged automatically by both sunlight and indoor light.

In connection with the marketing, JBL claimed that the headphones would have “basically unlimited playing time”.

Exeger develops color-sensitized solar cells, also called Grätzel solar cells, and has a factory for manufacturing in central Stockholm.

JBL has had a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo and there pre-sold about 2,000 headphones. On the campaign page, JBL writes that there is a working demonstration product, but not a finished product.

But now the development project is put on pause. Those who have pre-purchased headphones will get their money back, it announces the company.

Bicycle helmet with integrated solar cells

The reason is said to be the corona pandemic, which has led to the company canceling all business trips: “Implementing technology without teams being able to meet face to face to build and test things together has unfortunately given us an unparalleled challenge and caused major delays.”

However, JBL writes that the company must follow the situation closely. “When we can restart the project again, we will get back to you.”

However, Exeger’s spokesperson Karin Carlström does not think that the message from JBL is a big blow.

– It is sad that it has been paused, but the project will progress. For us, our business continues as usual and we have a lot to look forward to next year, she says to Ny Teknik.

But these headphones were the product that had come the furthest in integrating your technology, right?

– No, but it was they who were published, says Karin Carlström.

Giovanni Fili, CEO and founder of Exeger, in front of a printer where the solar cells are manufactured. Photo: Alexandre Askmo / Exeger

Do you hope that JBL will return when the pandemic is over?

– Absolutely, we have a joint agreement to continue the development work. But given these times, it is difficult to integrate new technology when you need to meet and collaborate on site, says Karin Carlström.

Your technology is not on the market yet, is it?

– No, the collaborations that have been announced are JBL and Poc, but next year we will have several products on the market. 2021 looks bright despite the ongoing pandemic, says Karin Carlström.

The collaboration with Poc is about developing a bicycle helmet with integrated solar cells. The idea is that electricity generated in the helmet can be used for various digital solutions that can help protect the cyclist before, during and after an accident. Exeger does not reveal exactly what those solutions could be about.

No date has yet been set for when the new bicycle helmet will be on the market.


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