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Solar-powered headphones that can play (almost) forever? This high-tech pair from Adidas cranks it up

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Jul 13, 2021, 3:42 PM EDT

Thanks to a current crop of wireless headphones whose need for recharge runs rings around the early days of cord-free tech, putting your music on infinite loop has never been easier. But a new collaboration between Adidas and audio maker Zound Industries may finally banish the idea of charging up your cans for good — all thanks to the surprisingly potent power of even modest amounts of ambient light.

Adidas is teasing its upcoming RPT-02 SOL headphones for both their sophisticated charging tech as well as their sustainably-sourced and planet-friendly construction, though it’s the always-charging feature that feels like a perk ripped straight from the pages of audiophile science fiction. Leveling past mere solar-based charging, the RPT-02 SOLs are engineered to harvest power from any light source — even low-level indoor lighting.

The trick behind the tech is something called Powerfoyle, “a ground-breaking solar cell material that converts all forms of light into clean, endless energy,” according to Swedish company Exeger, which is partnering with Adidas to adapt the material’s use for the endless-play ‘phones.

The result is a full charge that can go for 80 hours without any additional light exposure — and, if the headphones are exposed to various sources of light — “extended or even eternal battery life,” as Exeger puts it, making the RPT-02 SOLs a set of self-charging headgear that’ll keep the music going long after you need a break.

As anyone who’s used a lowly pocket calculator over the past 20 years or so can attest, solar power is certainly nothing new in the world of portable electronics. But Powerfoyle doesn’t need a direct sightline with the sun — or even daylight — to make full use of those precious rays. “Direct sunlight will be the strongest source, but even indoor lighting or, even better, having it close to windows will generate energy,” Gustaf Rosell, chief product and innovation Officer at Zound Industries, told Digital Trends. “The cells are flexible in their application and not sensitive to being shadowed in the same way as traditional solar cells.”

Via the same report, Adidas is planning to release the RPT-02 SOL headphones sometime in early 2022, with a projected price of $199-$229. For futuristic audio tech that never goes quiet, that’s right in line with what music lovers already are paying for present-day ‘phones that need a wire to refuel (but fear not: in a dark and dreary pinch, the RPT-02 SOLs can reportedly be recharged via conventional USB-C.) Fast-forward to Adidas’ landing page to stay current with the countdown to self-charging audiophile bliss.