Sunday 26 January 2020

At the age of 14, Joshua Dargan Hayes has already embarked on a career in business with his solar-powered phone charger.

At the age of 14, Joshua Dargan Hayes has already embarked on a career in business with his solar-powered phone charger.

He has patented the device for use on sun-loungers, and hopes to go into production soon.

As well as phones, it can also be used to charge laptops, tablets, fans and even 
mini-fridges.

Joshua, who is just starting third year at St Gerard's School in Bray, Co Wicklow, dreamt up his idea for the big time while on holiday in Italy a year ago.

"We were staying along the coast near Venice. Over there, all the sun loungers have to have shades.

"I am addicted to my gadgets, and I always want to have them on tap. So I found it frustrating that I had to go back to the apartment room to get them charged.

"I thought it would be a great idea to have a solar panel on the shade, and this could be used to charge everything.

"The technology of it is not too complicated. It's basically a solar panel, a couple of wires into a battery and wires going into three USB chargers."

Joshua decided to turn the charger, known as Connect Shade, into a business and won the prize for most innovative product at the Student Enterprise Awards.

He is currently developing a prototype and is in regular contact with foreign firms.

He says: "I'd use phrases like 'our marketing department' so they didn't cop I was just a teenager."

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