7 Solar-Powered Wearables Guaranteed to Give You a Charge
Tags: alternate energy, clean energies, Energy Efficiency, Green energy, Green Power, renewable energy, solar cells, Solar Charger, solar charging, solar energy, Solar Jacket, Solar Panels, solar photovoltaic, Solar power, Solar-Powered Wearables
1. Solar Bikini
Your summer forecast: sunny with a chance of spontaneous combustion. Make that giant ball of helium and hydrogen work for you for a change with these seven solar-powered wearables. No power outlets necessary—simply plug, play, and perambulate at will. A custom-made solar-powered bikini keeps gadgets primed while you soak in the rays (and stares).
2. Day for Night Solar Dress
What better way to boogie the night away than clad in this ultramod solar-powered mini? Not only does this sleek number look extra-sexy on the dance floor, but it also soaks up the sun’s rays during the day so that it can set your curves aglow at night! Designed by Despina Papadopoulos of Studio 5050, the Day-For-Night Solar Dress is all about catching some rays in style.
Custom-tailored with 448 white circuit board tiles that can be fitted with solar cells, LEDs, or photocells, the entire outfit is connected to an attached microcontroller. Besides adding some mod flavor to the dress, the black solar tiles also charge the batteries which power the device. A hidden control board communicates with the tiles, which are held together by metal rings for an avant-garde chainmail look. Solar chic!
3. Zegna Sport Ecotech Solar Jacket
Zegna Sport has spruced up its two-year-old Solar Jacket for fall in a major way—well, make that several major ways. Version 2.0′s outer fabric, breathable membrane, seam taping, lining, and padding are derived entirely from recycled plastic. The solar panels that were attached to the original jacket’s collar have migrated to the upper sleeves, and a heating device now occupies the inner space to keep you toasty when the mercury dips.
As you might expect, the Ecotech’s photovoltaic cells harness power from the sun and convert it into renewable energy, which is distributed by textile leads that can be washed with the rest of the jacket. Charging the hidden battery pack to full capacity requires four to five hours of direct sunlight, but it’s enough to juice up a cellphone or iPod. (Adapters for the major mobile-communications manufacturers are included.)
Getting a full charge requires four to five hours of direct sunlight—enough to power a cell phone or iPod.
Another pair of pluses: Because the solar panels and battery are completely detachable, you can recharge a device even when you’re not wearing the jacket—or conversely, wear the Ecotech sans solar paraphernalia at night without looking silly.
4. Lux Solar Necklace
Haute or not? This sophisticated solar panel necklace, created by Swedish student designer Mae Yokoyama, is made from mini solar panels and embellished with tiny LED bulbs. After harvesting energy from that big incandescent ball of gas in the sky, the bulbs light up like a string of luminous pearls, turning, in Yokoyama’s own words, “energy into beauty.” Hey, we’ll take this over Triumph’s solar-powered bra any day.
Mae Yokoyama brings technology into the world of haute couture and show how to profit from the sun and turn energy into beauty. One piece that stands out in her production is a collar made of solar panels, accumulating energy during daytime. When the sun goes down a string of pearls is illuminated, turning the functional look of the solar panels into a subtle and fashionable necklace.
5. Diffus Solar Bag
Diffus, the interactive design firm that brought you the environment-sniffing “Climate Dress,” has unveiled its latest project: a glittering, luxe solar-powered handbag that uses miniature photovoltaic cells as a design element rather than something to be camouflaged. With the help of Swiss embroidery company Forster Rohner and the Alexandra Institute, Diffus wired 100 tiny solar panels onto the bag’s exterior—enough to generate juice to power your cellphone or other mobile device. Opening the bag also activates fiber optics integrated inside, so finding your keys at night is a snap.
The sturdy black carryall, amply sized to hold all your daily load, makes solar power a chic statement with its copper-framed solar cells and artfully exposed wiring. Hanne-Louise Johannesen, the company’s co-founder, compares the seamless marriage of function and design to the work of architect Gustave Eiffel.
The sturdy black carryall makes solar power a chic statement with its copper-framed solar cells and artfully exposed wiring.
“He decided to make beauty of the building structure rather than hiding the real strength behind ornamented brick and mortar,” she tells Syuzi Pakhchyan of Fashion Technology. “Another thing is that this has given us a new—in the beginning—unexpected ‘vocabulary’ to use in the aesthetic language,” Johannesen adds. “It has become a kind of trademark for us.”
Unlike most solar textiles, which are limited by their comparatively small surface area, Diffus’ caryall is based on shrinking down the most efficient photovoltaic materials currently available—monocrystalline silicone—into oversize sequins for a greater expanse. Exposed to sunlight, the tote is able to generate 2 watts, a number that will only increase as future solar elements double or triple in efficiency.
6. Ralph Lauren RLX Solar Backpack
Ralph Lauren’s men’s athletic line, RLX, recently released a new line of high-performance bags, one of which features an integrated solar panel. Made in Italy from a thin, seamless, and water-resistant material, the Solar Panel Backpack generates enough juice to charge an iPod or cellphone in a matter of hours. Luxury, style, and solar power, all in one.
The RLX line for men is designed for luxury, technology, as well as performance, and the new solar backpack is befitting of that ideal. Besides thick adjustable shoulder straps, the backpack includes a handle on its side for use as a portfolio. Perfect for carting around your laptop or iPad on your next boating expedition, the carryall zaps up a 3.45 watt current, which can charge a small device in two to three hours when the sun is at full strength.
The bag zaps up a 3.45-watt current, which charges a small device in two to three hours when the sun is at full strength.
The backpack is available in orange and black for the princely sum of $795, although you can purchase an identical version, sans solar panel, for $400 less. Yacht owners only need apply.
7. Baby-G Solar Atomic Slim Marine Watch
Even landlubbers can appreciate Baby-G’s Solar Atomic Slim Marine, a solar-powered watch that’s water-resistant up to 650 feet. It also receives time-calibration radio signals from up to five transmitters worldwide, so you can count on being on time no matter where you are on the planet.