Machine washable Solar Shirt charges your mobile devices on the go
There’s no doubting that wearable technology, and smart clothing in particular are the destined trends of the near future. With demanding consumers looking for embedded electronics in their everyday clothing that can make life seamless, development of such wearable devices is very much in demand. Fashion designer Pauline Van Dongen has come up with Solar Shirt as a part of her Wearable Solar Collection that juices-up your gadgets on the go. Now, that is a good use of the abundant natural source of energy, literally converting yourself into a charging station for your smartphone, tablets or MP3 players.
Created in collaboration with TNO and Holst Centre, this fashion forward shirt was shown-off at SXSW Interactive in Austin. Solar Shirt is embedded with 120 thin-film solar cells that in bright sunlight is capable of producing 1W of electricity. This is enough to charge your gadget(s) in case of an emergency or even when you are too busy to sit around and wait for the mobile device to charge.
One inherent problem with current wearables that have electronics implanted into the fabric itself is that of washing and flexibility. Solar Shirt has all that busted with the use of high-volume technique that makes it washable just like other fabrics. This comes courtesy Holst Centre’s stretchable electronics technology that includes energy harvesting (PV), sensor and displays into textile and other flexible material.
Pauline believes that this new wearable technology is going to be up for grabs commercially in the coming months and added by saying that;
As a designer, I’m excited by how solar cells can add to the esthetic of a garment. To date, all attempts to combine solar technology and fashion had focused on one-off haute couture designs. With Holst Centre’s technology, we were able to seamlessly integrate the technology and the design so they mutually inform each other – advancing the concept and value of fashion. We’ve taken solar fashion from the catwalk to the high street, with an attractive yet practical garment that people could wear every day.
Holst Centre’s Margreet de Kok confirmed by adding;
Our technology enables extremely thin electronics that are stretchable, flexible and washable. It can be integrated into fabrics using standard high-volume techniques that are well known in the textile industry. The maturity of the technology means textile manufactures could bring functional fabrics to market in a matter of months using existing production facilities. Pauline is one of the leading names in wearable technology, and her design shows how technology and fashion can complement each other to create desirable clothing that has a function.