The northern hemisphere enjoys currently a lot of sunny hours and days, after all it is summer time. Sunlight we could put to good use for our power hungry gadgets.
Incorporating sunshine harvesting solar cells has been around since the early days of talk2myShirt. First integration of solar cells came up in bags and later in clothing.
Here at talk2myShirt we transformed an off-the-shelf shoulder bag into a solar energy harvesting power bag. It did and still works very well as long as the bag is in glaring sunlight, performing best when placed behind the office widow or behind the cars rear window when making long distance drives. Walking around the city or park is a challenge as the angle at which the sun’s rays hit the solar cells constantly changes.
For reasonable good solar energy harvesting results I had to watch out to carry the bag towards the sunny side and avoid as much as possible shadow which turned out to be very challenging when walking between high-rise buildings and in the park under trees.
My DIY solar bag still works and gives my phone an occasional charge still doing it’s best job behind the office window.
Taking my real world life experience with wearable solar power and imagining this on a jacket or dress I have hard time to believe solar cells in clothing make any practical sense at all.
I have written about solar jackets a few years ago, early experiments from top brands like Italian fashion house Ermenegildo Zegna for example, questioning at that time the usefulness.
To my surprise I found out brands like Tommy Hilfiger had very recently in their Autumn 2014 collection Solar jackets for men and women. I am not qualified to jude the aesthetic design of this jackets but what jumps right into my face is the lack of logic by Tommy Hilfiger and certainly the missing technological understanding of solar charging.
Introducing a solar charging jacket in Fall where the least sunshine is recorded in any part of the world is far beyond my imagination. Wearing this style of jacket in full sunshine to make solar charing even feasible is something I can not wrap my head around.
The most reasonable efficiency to convert sun rays to electrical power is when the sun rays hit the solar cell head-on, something I can not envision when walking with this jacket around.
By no means do I want to sound negative but placing such kind of ‘wearable technology’ in front of consumers is not serving the Wearable Technology development.
One should not make something because it can be done – one should make something because it is useful and makes sense.