Connect And Power Your Device With The Solar Ski Helmet
In the market for a ski helmet? How about one with built-in audio? How about one with built-in audio, a microphone, Bluetooth technology that can power all of these extras via solar energy? Well, you can't have this helmet just yet, but developers at Fraunhofer IZM are working with TU Berlin and TEXSYS to get this product out on the market.
What Fraunhofer IZM hopes to offer is a ski helmet with a solar panel on top that will feed a lithium-polymer battery, which will serve as the power source for the helmet's built-in headphones, microphone and Bluetooth enabled control glove. With this technology, skiers can listen to their tunes on the slopes and answer phone calls. All they need do is connect their mobile device to the control glove via Bluetooth and they're all set.
The Fraunhofer team had to overcome some challenges with this design. For starters, fitting a rigid solar panel over the domed surface of a ski helmet meant breaking that panel down into smaller chips so that it could follow the curve of the helmet. They also had to develop a proprietary microcontroller that will allow the battery to be charged in cold conditions (something that is hard to do). And if the temperature drops too low (below -22 F), the unit can still receive power directly from the solar panels, if there is enough sunlight.
This awesome technology isn't yet available to the public. Fraunhofer has been running tests with the prototypes, but they hope to have the helmet on the market in the near future. For more information check out the Fraunhofer IZM site.