September 27, 2005 Time waits for no-one and no object - the ever-quickening march of progress looks set to reinvent the humble handbag by adding solar power and an electroluminescent lining which lights up when unzipped. It also has a battery which can store the power eeked from the solar system and hence it can charge mobile phones and and other personal electronic devices. The handbag, called Sun Trap, uses a solar cell to trap energy from sunlight, storing it in the bag’s internal battery. When the bag is unzipped, the lining, powered by the battery and made from an electroluminescent material similar to that found in mobile phones, lights up helping them to find items lurking at the very bottom - for example, house keys. The lining goes dark automatically as the zip is closed or switches off after 15 seconds to conserve battery if the bag is accidentally left open.
Brunel University Design Student, Rosanna Kilfedder designed the solar powered handbag and the Brunel Enterprise Centre (BEC) has assisted Rosanna to secure patents and take the bag to market. Rosanna Kilfidder says: “I had the idea for Sun Trap handbag after seeing so many friends frantically searching their bags for house keys, usually on a dark doorstep. I also noticed friends using their mobile phones like torches to examine the contents of their bag, which gave me the idea of lighting up the bag. “I was thinking about safety and usefulness and had the idea of including a portable charger for emergency situations. I’d run out of mobile phone battery on several occasions and thought this would be a good way round the problem of being stuck late at night with a dead mobile battery. The design I’ve developed is just a prototype at the moment, but I’d really like to see it on the high street – I think it would be such a help to so many women.” Entrepreneurial Success
Brunel Enterprise Centre (BEC), which helps students and academics develop their ideas commercially, is now helping Rosanna apply for patents to cover the zip and handbag, after she won a ‘Dragon’s Den’ Style competition held at Brunel University in June this year. BEC has provided Rosanna with a mentor, James Lee, who is a successful Brunel alumni entrepreneur and business angel, who is giving her advice on how to best to take the Sun Trap handbag to market. Keith Robson at BEC says: “Rosanna is a very determined young lady, who’s had a brilliant idea. This passion and commitment she has shown to take her so far is extremely important from an investor’s point of view. We’re absolutely delighted to be helping Rosanna on her way to becoming a successful young entrepreneur.”