Ambient and UEI Partner to Bring Sustainable Power to Smart Home Devices


Ambient Photonics and Universal Electronics Inc. (UEI), have entered into a working relationship to significantly reduce the economic and environmental impact of disposable batteries and improve convenience in consumer devices. Embedding Ambient’s first-of-its-kind low light energy harvesting photovoltaic (PV) technology into connected devices can eventually eliminate the replacement and labor costs required to replace batteries as well as reduce the carbon footprint of a battery-powered device by up to 90 percent, according to a 2020 literature review study commissioned by Ambient. The companies plan to reveal more details of their current work together at CES 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

 “We think about smarter living holistically, including everything from how to create frictionless and new consumer experiences to employing technology that’s better for the planet. Ambient’s revolutionary low light PV cells are smarter in every sense of the word, potentially enabling a new generation of hassle-free connected devices of uncompromising quality that are also sustainable,” said Arsham Hatambeiki, SVP Product & Technology for UEI.

Connected and smart electronics require continuous power, which has historically meant batteries must be periodically replaced or recharged. Often depleted batteries may cause gaps in device operation leading to consumer frustration. Safe disposal is a challenge while recycling can be difficult and expensive. Even in markets like California where batteries must be diverted from waste streams by law, less than 1 percent of batteries find their way into authorized recycling programs according to a report commissioned by the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery.

“As a first-mover and innovator, UEI has thoroughly benchmarked the performance and reliability of our novel solar cells to validate the enormous market potential for self-powered devices,” said Ambient CEO Bates Marshall. “UEI is proactively solving their customers’ battery-related pain points, like eliminating battery replacement. Our planned collaboration can serve to bring both cost savings and sustainability benefits to a market that has been constrained far too long by battery-based power systems.”

Ambient dye sensitized PV cells generate as much as three times more power than amorphous silicon cells, which have served as the most commonly used photovoltaic solution for indoor applications. This unique high power density under LED, fluorescent or diffuse sunlight coupled with a breakthrough industrial printing process enables made-to-order cells for high volume electronic device manufacturers.