Milan Karki, an 18-year-old Nepalese student who idolizes inventor Thomas Edison, has been experimenting with electricity since he was a child. His goal is to create low-cost, low-maintenance providers of energy in order to cheaply and efficiently bring power to remote, impoverished villages.
Karki and four of his classmates now believe they have successfully accomplished that task and are publicizing the details of their attempts to revolutionize solar electricity. Instead of the expensive silicon components typically used to conduct energy in solar panels, the Karki team used human hair in their working panel.
The hair-powered panel works because melanin (the pigment that gives hair color) is light-sensitive and can act as a conductor. According to the Daily Mail, one of these nine-volt Sol-Hair panels would be available for a fraction of the price of old silicon panels, and is capable of charging enough batteries to power a light source for an entire evening.
Karki told the Daily Mail, “This is an easy solution for the crisis we are having today. We have begun the long walk to save the planet.” With kids like Karki, and the Singapore students who devised a method of harvesting energy from roads, that walk may not be as long as he thinks. [Link: The Daily Mail]