Bring on summer, I’m so heading for the beach for a good bronzing. And now I get to spend the Entire day getting that crispy golden brown I crave thanks to New York designer Andrew Schneider. Schneider has had a genius moment with his Solar Bikini. Capable of charging a smartphone or media player as I lay back and soak up the summer rays. The Solar Bikini is now available for custom order, each bikini sports 40 thin and flexible photovoltaic strips ending at a USB port.
Schneider said that the inspiration for the Solar Bikini came to him while brainstorming ideas for sustainable products at the opening session of an Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University. He mockingly joked that he was going to make a bikini capable of chilling beer at the beach. Thinking more about the idea, he realized that with the help of modern photovoltaic technology and a Peltier junction, such a product might be technically possible. The prototype that followed didn’t produce enough juice to power a beer chiller, but Schneider found that it did work with an iPod. After a few refinements – and letting go of his manly needs – the Solar Bikini is now being made available for a limited number of custom orders through Solar Coterie.
The attractiveness of the Solar Bikini is all in the novelty, and of course the wearer. Solar Bikini is not going to give you the Brazilian style burning some crave, it’s a little more cumbersome than a string bikini. It will keep you in the sun All Day though, wooohooo.
The outer surface of the bikini is covered with 25 x 100 mm / 1 x 4-inch flexible photovoltaic cells from PowerFilm Solar, which are hand-stitched onto the base material using conductive thread. Photon bombardment sends the electrons down to a 5V DC terminator and onward to a USB port for device attachment. The output is comparable to a laptop’s USB port – 5vDC – the port trickle charges MP3 player’s or mobile phone’s.
No energy is stored in the bikini, the designer says that “wearers can even go for a swim while sporting the Solar Bikini”
Spending all day under a blazing sun is of course rotten for your skin, sunscreen and common sense is seriously advised. The cost of each Solar Bikini will vary according to the design, but it’s not going to be a cheap clean energy charging solution for your portable devices. Schneider told us that “you can expect anywhere from $US1000 to $US2000 ”
The designer says that he hasn’t given up his manly ambitions of chilling beer using beachwear, and is currently building and testing prototypes for the iDrink “men’s solar shorts with sufficient surface area to push out the energy needed to power a small drinks chiller” they will doubtlessly be nothing like the much adored Speedos!? ♡DD