Ready to give the sun a reason to sweat for a change? Strap on Exotic Solar’s “PowerCloth 1G,” an innovative new textile that turns everyday clothing into wearable solar-power generators. Unlike conventional photovoltaic panels, which are stiff and brittle, the Utah-based company’s fabric cells are ultra-lightweight and flexible. A single $65 device, available for preorder through IndieGoGo, provides an output current of roughly 700 milliamperes, enough to charge a smart device in just under three hours. An extra $20 gets you a 1,800 milliampere-hour lithium-ion power pack to keep gadgets, such as a 10 LED lamp, juiced throughout the night.
Working with nanotechnology researchers at the University of Utah, Exotic Solar miniaturized high-efficiency solar cells, strengthened them using fiberglass and graphene, then embedded them into a soft polymer matrix to render them robust yet pliable. The finished PowerCloth weighs less than 3 ounces, perfect for attaching to a shirt, jacket, or backpack during outdoor jaunts. The best part? The fabric separates easily from the photovoltaic element for washing.
The PowerCloth weighs less than 3 ounces, perfect for attaching to a shirt, jacket, or backpack during outdoor jaunts.
“Sun gives us tremendous amount of energy every day,” says Surabhi Pandey, the company’s CEO. “If we can convert even a tiny part of that into useful electricity, it will fulfill all our electricity needs. This is the promise, riding on which photovoltaic industry has emerged as one of the fastest-growing industry in the world.”