We might need to wait a while for this one to hit the shelves of our local DIY stores, but when it does it might just change the way we power our gadgets forever. Researchers have stumbled on a type of photovoltaic sensor that converts infrared rather than visible light to electricity, and they're now working on shrinking those down into "quantum dots" small enough to be suspended in a solvent like paint. That would mean that you could simple apply a coat or two to your roof and use that to power your plasma TV.
The quantum dots are in fact semi-conductor crystals, and the applications aren't limited to your roof. In fact, researcher Ted Sargent believes that one day most surfaces - clothes, cars and more - will be coated in infrared light converters.
"'Infrared' means beyond red, so it's beyond what you and I can see but it's just as real as anything, any other source of power, and if we don't tap into it in our solar cells, then we throw away more than half of the sun's potential energy we could be using" Ted Sargent
According to Ted we can expect to see commercial products based on the technology within a decade. Get your paintbrush ready!