Embedded Electronics:Machine Washable Solar Shirt Charges Mobile Devices

 The modern consumer is busy, sophisticated and in search of  anything that can make their days go more smoothly and efficently. Avant-garde fashion designer,  Pauline Van Dongen, has created the Solar Shirt, which charges gadgets on the go, as part of her current Wearable Solar Collection. This amazing array of smart garments was created in collabortaion with TNO and Holst Centre, two important Dutch organizations devoted to technological innovation and to confronting global societal challenges in the healthcare and sustainability industries and the Internet of Things.


Machine-Washable Solar Shirt: Source: PlusGoogleMachine-Washable Solar Shirt: Source: PlusGoogle


 Who is Pauline Van Dongen?

A graduate of the ArtEZ Acadmey of the Arts in Arnhem, The Netherlands, this fashion designer developed her own womenswear label in 2010. She is fascinated with new technologies and how they can combine with conventional techniques, resulting in a constant renovation of craftsmanship. She studies and experiments with high tech materials, endlessly challenging the human body and its interaction with textured space. She allies herself with companies that specialize in science and innovation and blends scientific inquiry and thought into her own fashion statement.


Van Dongen's Solar Shirt: Source: DamnGeekyVan Dongen's Solar Shirt: Source: DamnGeeky


The wearer of the solar shirt becomes a charging station

The Solar Shirt is a uniique garment because it transforms the wearer into a human charging station! It creates a way to use an endless natural supply of energy (namely, the wearer's own life force) to charge smart-phones, tablets or MP players.

In Van Dongen's own words: "To date, all attempts to combine solar energy  and fashion had focussed on 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 evey day."

How is the solar shirt made and how is it different from others?

This specil shirt is embedded with 120 thin-film solar cells that can produce 1 watt fo electricity in bright sunlight. In an emergency or even during a run-of-the-mill busy spell, this is enough to charge any gadget.It is a step above other electronically embedded wearables because it is washable, just as any other  fabric. This is the result of Holst Centre's stretchable electronics technology.


Solar Shirt Side View: Source: ecowatchSolar Shirt Side View: Source: ecowatch


According once again to Van Dongen: "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 manufacturers could bring functional fabrics to market in a matter of months using existing production facilities."

The future of the solar shirt

The Solar Shirt is representative of clothing with a function, an emerging trend in wearable tech manufacturing.  Pauline Van Dongen's design shows how technology, solar power and fashion can merge to create a new wearable hybrid that is destined to make the life of the everyday consumer smoother and easier.

Closing thoughts on solar energy:

If sunbeams were weapons of war, we would have had solar energy centuries before. ~ George Porter

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