Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Solar Rucksack – keeps mountaineers warm...

We're lucky to live in a place with 200+ days of sunshine per year. If we're not out and about, the solar bag rests next to the window where sunshine comes in the whole afternoon, giving our cellphone and iPod a charge whenever needed. Now we've found a solar bag which has a use for the solar energy harvested other than charging personal devices – using the solar energy to heat up clothing. This innovative idea comes from the young designers Kim Jangwoon, Lee Youngmin, Jung Soonho and Namgung Mina having having mountaineers in mind who climb the highest mountains or hiking in polar areas. The rucksack or backpack is covered partly with solar panels which collect and convert solar energy into thermal energy and the generated heat is then evenly distributed to the user’s body via a circular patch on the clothing that remains attached with the backpack via a connecting pipe. This is the functional description to their Solar Rucksack design concept which also earned the Red Dot Design Concept 2009 award. We love the idea of using solar panel equipped backpacks not only for giving personal devices a charge but to connect to heated clothing for example. Storing the solar energy in a battery and then connect to a heated jacket, gloves or shoes would indeed be a great feature for adventurer exploring to cold parts of our world. For now the Solar Rucksack is only a design concept but we don’t see any technical reason why it could not be made into a commercial product anytime soon. Considering the premium price extreme mountaineering equipment has – the addition of a solar panel and a bit of battery storage would not put too much price pressure on it – especially if there is such a clear advantage as keeping warm during extreme adventures.

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