Manufacture Modules Technologies (MMT), the Swiss company that had a helping hand building hybrid smartwatches including the Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch and Mondaine Helvetica 1 Smart, is developing a hybrid that will never need charging.
To make an energy-free hybrid watch, MMT is using a combination of what it calls 'state-of-the-art solar panels', energy harvesting technology alongside an ultra-low power watch module design.
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MMT has already conducted a study with its technology partners to prove that the setup does actually work. During that study, a watch dial was placed on a solar PV cell with light reaching that cell through the dial to create low output voltage. That, in turn, be used to power the smartwatch. It found that as little as 1-hour per day or 3 to 4 hours of direct light was able to help power smart features like step-counting, sleep tracking, notifications and auto-time updates without needing to plug the watch into a charger.
The challenge now is to get the tech into a fully functional watch based on the company's watch module and software platform. The result should be beautiful hybrid smartwatches that will never need charging. The fact that MMT has worked with some of the biggest names in the Swiss watchmaking business means brands like Frederique Constant and Mondaine could benefit from this self-charging tech.
MMT is no stranger to innovation in the watch space either having already launched its stylish E-Strap that has the capability to turn any analogue smartwatch into a smartwatch. The smart strap is able to discreetly add features like fitness tracking and inactivity alerts.
Battery life continues to be a big issue for smartwatches, more so proper smartwatches like the Apple Watch and Google's Wear OS watches, which only manage to last for a couple of days. While many hybrids on the market can be powered for months on a standard coin cell battery, the possibility of not having to open up that watch case to replace it would definitely be welcomed. We've already seen a few examples of self-charging smartwatches like the Matrix PowerWatch, which uses body heat to power the device. US based startup LunaR also successfully launched its solar-powered hybrid smartwatch in 2017.
It looks like MMT has come up with a solution to solve the issue for hybrids, now we just have to wait for the company to get the tech packed into a hybrid we can buy. Hopefully we won't be waiting too long for that to happen.