Solar cell-embroidered handbag blends fashion and function
By Darren Quick
May 27, 2011
With a mobile phone now an essential item in any ladies' handbag, it's surprising that most of the solar powered bags we've seen up until now have been either backpacks or messenger bags. That's fine for men who generally see bags as a purely functional piece of equipment designed to make it easier to carry things like beer, guns and pornography around. But from what I understand, it's much different for women, for whom the handbag is an extension of their personality and needs to be fashionable as well as practical - and the practicality is probably optional. Danish design studio DIFFUS has done its best to combine the two with its Solar Handbag.
Instead of placing a single flexible thin film solar module onto the side of a bag, the designers of the DIFFUS Solar Handbag have distributed 100 smaller monocrystalline silicon solar cells over the surface of the bag to resemble oversized sequins. The surface of the bag is also embroidered with a combination of normal embroidery and conductive embroidery that transfers the energy harvested by the "solar sequins" to a lithium-ion battery hidden away within a small compartment.
With a nine percent conversion efficiency and the ability to generate two Watts, DIFFUS says the Solar Handbag's solar elements are able to charge "a mobile device" as well as the bag's battery even with low daily exposure to sunlight. The battery is not only used to recharge mobile devices, but also powers optical fibers attached to the inside of the bag that are activated when the bag is opened to make it easier to find things.
DIFFUS hasn't announced pricing or availability details for its Solar Handbag as yet, but since they refer to it as a "luxury handbag," it probably won't be cheap.