September 28, 2004

Sweet Solar Backpack


A picture like that doesn't really need much explaining, but it's really worth it...

The solar panels are waterproof, tough, and light according to the manufacturer. In addition, they have an internal 2,200mAh Li Ion battery to store solar energy when you're not using it, but it can also be charged up by AC. Finally it has all sorts of electronics adaptors, much like the igo.

Oh wait, there's more. It's made for all your gear, with a laptop sleeve, phone/mp3 pouch, another mp3 pouch inside the bag, and hidden power cables to take power to various pockets.

I'm not sure how much it costs, but when I find out, I'll post an update. To be released this November. I thought I wanted a POV camera, but maybe I'll try to get this for myself. If you can't own a wearable computer, at least you can own the bag.

[Link via Harley Grusko on the Wear Hard Mailing List]

Posted by nym at 09:48 PM | TrackBack

June 29, 2004

Solar Spinach Power

If Popeye was as smart as Marc Baldo, he might have thought about using his photosynthetic food for electrical means. Baldo along with the other smarties over at MIT have come up with a better way to produce solar energy. The process uses the photosynthetic proteins between two layers of conductive material. Not surprising since that's basically what most plants do while they're sitting in the sun, but to harness this is no minor feat. The technique is still very beta since they only last 21 days, but at 12% energy conversion this is science not to be laughed at.

I just love that these scientists went back to their roots.

[Link via gizmodo]

Posted by nym at 10:17 PM | TrackBack

June 14, 2004

Cool Solar

Every cyborg loves solar energy, it's limitless, quiet, and nowadays, much more portable. No longer are solar panels being built only for the home and industrial sectors.

Thanks to IPC Solar Technologies, maker of the iSun consumer solar panels, better solutions are emerging for the individual and outdoors man markets. The first is the rollable PowerFLEX, which are available in 5, 10, 20, and 40 watt versions (much better than the iSun's 2.2 watts). [source i4u]

The second is much more rugged and fully waterproof, and is being made in conjunction with Coleman. It's called the Coleman 50200 Exponent Flex 5 (try saying that five times fast), and is only $99 from amazon. Not bad for this 5 watt solar panel.

"The flexible solar are made with durable CIGS solar cells, a material proven to be very stable and long-lived, even when subjected to the rigors of extreme radiation in space. The solar panels work also under cloudy and rainy skies. The ICP Solar panels are designed to power 12V batteries and Gadgets." [from i4u]

IPC's new technology is excellent stuff for wearables, and the company has already partnered with wearable computing clothing manufacturer, scottevest. They plan to introduce their solar clothing for $300 in the spring of 2005, but any serious cyborg will want some more power.

"The jacket has two small snap-on photovoltaic panels that fit onto its shoulders. These charcoal-gray solar panels convert the sun's rays into energy, which then feed a hidden battery pack about the size of a deck of cards. The batteries are wired to all the pockets, which can have almost any mobile devices plugged into them." [wired news]

So when exactly will we see this tech in backpacks? It seems like a logical jump. I found this other company which sells units designed to go on hiking packs. Not classy like IPC's stuff, but certainly good for the technomadic hiker at 20.2 watts.

Posted by nym at 08:35 PM | TrackBack

June 13, 2003

Wearable Power, Input

One of the issues preventing the uptake of wearables and the creation of a gargoyle subculture is power: what good is a device that requires multiple expensive batteries just for a single day's use? Fuel cells promise an eventual solution, but reducing the cost and size will take years.

News of one potentional solution comes from yuichi's Kokoro blog in the shape of Smart Textile, a technology from Infineon Technologies that produces electricity from the temperature gradient between one's body temperature and air temperature.

Man wearing a fullsize tower
The japanese article from ZDNet Japan describing Smart Textiles includes the picture to the right, which shows what is not going to be the future of wearable computing.

Efficient input devices for wearables are another issue. Another entry from Japan is this new one-handed keyboard and mouse based on cell phone design. Japanese youth are fairly adept with cellphone text entry, so this might actually meet a demand. Hopefully some sort of autocomplete will be provided. (Snarfed from Slashdot)

Posted by dragoon at 03:22 PM | Comments (0)