Every year millions of women flock to beaches around the world with one goal, and that is to tan. Clothes come off, bikinis go on, and then they spend hours laying in the sun listening to music, chatting with friends, reading a book, or sleeping. All this time, the sun is pouring over them, and doing nothing but bronzing, or in some cases burning, skin. Andrew Schneider came up with a more eco-friendly idea with the solar bikini. As cool as it is, this device does need some more work.
What is the Solar Bikini
The solar bikini is just that. It is quite literally a bikini made of flexible solar panel cells that can charge while the wearer is sunbathing. Unfortunately there is no men’s version, but ladies can soak up the sun, and it’s energy all in one go.
How Does It Work
The solar bikini is made up of 40 individual flexible photovoltaic cells in the shape of a bikini and bra top. While these are semi-transparent when held up to the sun, they offer full coverage when against the skin, so wearers need not worry about modesty other than that of a standard bikini. The bikini features a USB that when tested was enough to power an iPod, but unfortunately not quite enough to power a solar refrigerator. (Schneider originally designed itÂ after making a joke that he should make a bikini that would be capable of cooling beer at the beach).
The cells are produced byÂ PowerFilmSolarÂ (yes you can buy them and make your own), and use aÂ peltierÂ junction to charge. Because the solar cells do not actually store energy you can disconnect the USBÂ and go for a swim in the bikini. You should however, wait for it to completely dry before charging anything for safety reasons and for the safety of the device being charged.
While not in mass production, the website Solar Coterie claims to be taking custom orders for the Solar Bikini. While no prices are listed, you can expect it to cost a pretty penny as each order is custom made, and limited production always means higher production costs. Schneider estimates that each one costs between $500 and $1500 to build, and is currently working on a hopefully more powerful men’s version which will be called theÂ iDrink.
Unfortunately, as cool as the solar bikini is, it does have issues. For starters, it’s an eyesore and you’re probably going to be stared at a lot if you step outside in this thing. Second, the bikini does not mention much about a liner, and you can’t see one in the photos either, it might be more than a little uncomfortable to wear without wearing over a standard bikini.
Last but not least, photovoltaic cells are like paper. They are thin, lightweight, and flexible, and can cut you if you aren’t careful.
What do you think? Is the solar bikini a practical idea? Or is it just another cool invention that needs a lot more work?