World’s First Integrated Solar Backpack By O’neill
By Mike Hanlon
November 28, 2005
November 29, 2005 O’Neill Europe continus to push the boundaries of what it calls “boardsport orientated wearable electronics.” The company’s new line consists of three technologically advanced items of snow apparel: The world’s first Integrated Solar Backpack with communication and entertainment functionalities, an Entertainment Backpack and the second-generation Communication & Entertainment Jacket (formerly known as the HUB). All products in the O’Neill H2 series have been developed for use in conjunction with Apple’s iPod MP3 player. The solar communication and entertainment backpack constitutes the most significant addition to the O’Neill wearable electronics line. Designed for the long haul, the solar backpack incorporates two flexible solar panels and a Bluetooth module. Both backpacks make tune selection hassle free via specially developed entertainment functionality.
In optimum light conditions the solar cells provide charge to the users’ iPod, mobile phone and Bluetooth module via a USB recharging system. The TSA Step-up converter, contained within the pack, can also identify which appliance is in most need of the extra juice and allocates the charge accordingly.
For hands-free calling, a microphone is built-in to the left shoulder strap and a universal headphone jack is incorporated in the chest pocket. When the user receives a call on their cell phone the iPod transmission is automatically interrupted, pausing the music until the call is finished. The Bluetooth module also allows for voice recognition dialing.
The iPod and Bluetooth module is safely stored in a discreet protective and water resistant casing in the back of the pack. Once installed the iPod can be controlled via an ElekTex soft control panel located on the packs left shoulder strap.
Both backpacks in the H2 series feature all the technical wizardry, functionality and durability associated with an O’Neill backcountry pack. Constructed from an ultra-light, ultra-tough nylon, the packs incorporate a snowboard carry system, shovel stash, compression straps as well as a plethora of comfort features for a personalized fit.
All three products in the H2 range feature embedded, soft control panels developed by ElekTek. The fabric sensors incorporated into ElekTex fabrics provide an ultra-durable, washable control interface with no mechanical parts to ensure high reliability operations for high-performance sportswear products.
The Communication and Entertainment Jacket also returns for Fall/Winter 2005/06. Breaking the mold and turning the world of technical snow apparel on its head last season, the second-generation jacket is well equipped with additional features that heighten its performance. The jacket features an iPod compatible entertainment system that can be controlled by the soft touch remote controls woven into the left hand sleeve. The discreet Bluetooth module stationed in the chest pocket and the microphone in the jackets collar allows for hands free calling.
The jacket itself again draws on advances in textile technology, featuring a 20,000mm water column and a breathability rating topping 8,000/GRS/M2/24hr to provide unsurpassed performance.