There is a term for what results when two or more inventions combine to form a new invention -- technological convergence. Under the loosest definition, a 3-in-1 toaster oven coffee maker and frying pan would be a prime example. It's good for making breakfast in a rush, but normally convergence is reserved for emerging technologies, usually in the telecommunications field. Phone lines combined with computers led to the Internet. E-mail clients combined with cell phones, LCD displays and SMS messaging to create cell phones. Devices are being mashed together to create myriad hand-held portable gadgets.
As energy becomes more valuable, especially in these environmentally conscious times, manufacturers have sought new ways to power these convergent devices. Melding supplemental forms of energy production into conventional sources -- like rechargeable batteries -- seems to be the new hallmark of converging technology. One of those devices created in the midst of this new era is the Iqua VizorSUN.
The Iqua VizorSUN is a little hands-free Bluetooth car kit that, as its name suggests, clips neatly onto a car's sun visor. Its small size -- the slim device measures less than 6 inches (15.2 centimeters) wide and less than 4 inches (10.2 centimeters) deep and weighs less than 6 ounces (170 grams) -- means there's a lot of technology packed into a little box. Like other hands-free Bluetooth kits, it allows drivers to easily take calls that are rerouted from their cell phones to the VizorSUN. What makes this device unique is that it combines Bluetooth with renewable energy technology in the form of solar cells embedded in the VizorSUN's top.
Find out about the underlying technology behind the VizorSUN on the next page.