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Solar Energy

Solar Clothing Makes Charging Electronic Devices Easy

solar tie

Solar-powered clothing could be the next big trend for environmental enthusiasts. Researchers at North Carolina State University have designed a process called digital textile printing that makes it possible for solar panels to be fitted into jackets and ties.

The wearable solar panels act much like batteries when energized. With a consistency similar to paper, the panels shouldn’t weigh its wearers down too much.

However, the researchers did find problems with the neck tie: the solar panels make it extremely difficult to tie knots. They propose using a clip-on tie to remedy this problem.

The research team’s tie design contains a cell-phone pocket and 3.6V plug-in. And no, the solar clothing doesn’t create any dangerous electric shocks.

While the solar tie and jacket idea isn’t the first solar-powered clothing idea, it might be the most practical. Triumph International Japan’s solar-powered bra would be great—if only it worked when covered up by clothing.

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Written By

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.


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