Tradition meets Technology : Sony prototypes solar powered lantern

Not your usual solar-power lighting devices that can charge in the day and twinkle at night; Sony mixes tradition with high tech craftsmanship, transforms low cost dye-sensitized solar cells into uniquely floral patterns, embedded on the lamp's lateral shape panels that can generate energy by itself then power another miniature bulb that projects the beam-pattern depicted by the colors of cells on the panels.

Not enough for commercial application; the prototyped lantern being showcased at Eco-Products 2008 at Japan only has a conversion efficiency of 4%, just enough to power the bulb for one minutes with 15 minutes charging times.

But Nikkei says the company has had better modular made using similar technology with cell conversion efficiency that tipped over 10 percent, but it weren't exhibited at the show.