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Solar Battery Charger
Design Team
Design Team Member: Donn Koh
Designed with Tracy Subisak & Herlinda, 2009.
Lite-On Gold Award 2009
iF Product Design Award 2010
Please do not reproduce in any form or post on blogs without the expressed written consent from Donn Koh.
Eradicating the Mess of Organizing Batteries
Industrial Design / Workflow Design
Renew is a solar battery charger that eradicates the confusion between fully charged and depleted batteries by a smart and simple reconfiguration of the way batteries are loaded and stored within chargers. This usage clarity and intuitiveness, together with its approachable aesthetics and high visibility afforded by its freedom from wall socket connections, seeks to encourage users to switch from disposables to rechargeables.
Identifying Unspoken Problems
Despite the environmental benefits and long-term cost-savings, many people are subconsciously reluctant to use battery chargers. Our insights point to the design factors below.
Simple Solar AA Charging
Renew addresses the 4 issues of user reluctance, and makes things really simple so that users can easily incorporate it into their daily lives.
A New Solution: Vertical Configuration
Via a unique vertical configuration, sorting and storage is integrated, automatic, and effortless.

All the user has to do each time is to drop in a depleted battery from the top, and retrieve a fully charged one from below. No need to sort, store, and keep track of your batteries. It’s like having a dispenser in the home that provides an endless supply of AA batteries!
Renew’s Elegant Logic: How Confusion-free Integrated Sorting Works
Within the channel, the batteries are continuously charged - and because they are loaded from the top and retrieved from the bottom, this effectively sorts them from the least to the fullest charged without any conscious effort.

You’ll always get the fully charged one and never have to guess.
Simple, Clear, Fun
Pocket and puzzle-piece analogy at entry-point evokes a sense of usage clarity, and poetic naivete.
Intuitive Ease
With Renew, you just drop an empty one in, and press thetab to take a fully charged one out.
Inviting Dispenser Notion
‘Pez’-inspired retrieval system gives notion of ‘fresh battery!’ everytime you dispense one.
CMF variation
Some ideation sketches