This is too wild to pass up….
An NYU student from Brooklyn, Andrew Schneider, decided he wanted to create a swimsuit that would cool his beer. The result: using flexible solar photovoltaics surrounded by plastic, he created a bikini that can power your iPhone, iPod or similar device. Apparently, he’s getting to work creating a male version as well, the iDrink. This one, having more surface area, will be able to power a 1.5 amp peltier junction that can cool a beer in a custom coozy.
News about the solar photovoltaic swimwear line has been making the rounds on style and cleantech sites lately, but from the links on Schneider’s website, it looks like it was actually unveiled back in 2006! In any case, it isn’t being mass-manufactured and most of you probably haven’t heard about it. Reportedly, no swimsuits, which are custom-made and require 80 hours of work, have actually been sold.
Despite the lack of sales, though, Schneider has been quite happy with the response and thinks it has been serving its main purpose.
“There’s been a lot of interest. It was more of a conceptual thing,” he says. “I really am interested in it as a design object…. This object can bring awareness to how alternative energy can be fun.”
Reportedly, the Solar Bikini can get wet — you just need to be dry before trying to hook up your electronics again.
More details on the Solar Bikini:
“The suit is a standard medium-sized bikini swimsuit retrofitted with 1″ x 4″ photovoltaic film strips sewn together in series with conductive thread. The cells terminate in a 5 volt regulator into a female USB connection.” There’s a thin strap along the back connecting the top to the bottom as well, so that the energy harvested at the top can actually be used.
I saw reports that it cost $200 and reports that it cost $500. If you’re interested in the product, contact Schneider about it.
More info on how the solar swimsuit idea sprouted:
“I was in graduate school in a sustainability course at NYU [i.e., New York University]. We were going around the table with ideas. As a joke I said that I wanted to do a bikini that could cool your beer at the beach, and a couple weeks later, I realized I could do it. So that‘s where it came from.” New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program is sort of like an engineering school for artists or an art school for engineers, Schneider says.
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