|Wearable electronics specialist Interactive Wear AG launches solar platform|
|Wearable solar technology makes modern apparel into a high-tech power supply for cell phones etc.|
The solar modules are mounted on a neoprene collar; the electricity generated from solar energy is transmitted through conducting textile leads and stored temporarily in a buffer battery or fed directly to a connected device.
The iSolarX wearable solar technology platform
The electronic basis of the new “Solar JKT” from Zegna Sport is the iSolarX wearable solar technology platform, developed by Interactive Wear AG in close cooperation with its technology partner SOLARC of Berlin. This enables the easy and convenient integration of solar cells together with their associated leads and miniaturized charging electronics (for e.g. cell phones, mp3 players or other mobile electronic devices with a USB connector) into apparel and accessories of any sort. For iSolarX applications, the main focus is on reliability, ease of use, optimal wearing comfort and high energy efficiency.
The mounting and connection techniques were developed in close coordination with the Zegna Sport designers.
Because the interest in the iSolarX solution was also very great at the AVANTEX trade show in Frankfurt, which took place at the start of June 2007, the people at Interactive Wear are confident that further commercial solutions from well-known fashion and sport apparel manufacturers can be expected soon.
Interactive Wear has selected the experienced specialist SOLARC of Berlin to be its technology partner for the development of solar solutions and is the exclusive solution provider of the patented SOLARC technology for the apparel market. Interactive Wear and SOLARC will work together to advance the development of innovative solar solutions for the apparel industry. Furthermore, Interactive Wear is also involved in research and development being carried out at the national level, which is aimed at increasing the efficiency of flexible solutions based on organic solar cells.
The iSolarX solar technology platform is made up of these functional elements: the solar modules, the textile integration kit, and the charging electronics.
The connection technology is implemented using textiles – textile leads and textile connectors are easy to process (sew / bond) and can be secured in items of clothing e.g. with conducting press studs. The customer-specific textile leads connect the solar modules with the charging electronics. In the basic configuration, two small silicon-based, monocrystalline or polycrystalline solar modules (each approx. 9 cm x 5.5 cm) generate a charging power of approximately 1 Watt in direct sunlight. Other form factors as well as flexible or semi-flexible solar modules are optionally available; these do, however, require about twice the surface area for a comparable charging power.
The charging electronics from SOLARC have been developed to convert the varying power output of the solar modules efficiently into a stable power supply with a stable, adjustable output voltage. A maximum input voltage of 10V and a maximum input current of 1A yields an output power of a maximum of 1.5W. Its flat construction (70 mm x 60 mm x 13 mm) and its low weight of less than 100 grams predestines the charging module for integration into textile products. The output voltage can be set to one of two levels (5V for USB devices such as e.g. iPod, 6V for cell phones). Li-ion rechargeable batteries with different capacities, depending on the model, are used for temporary storage of the energy supplied. The state of charge of the battery and the power generation by the solar modules are each signaled by an LED.
SOLARC Innovative Solarprodukte GmbH develops, produces and distributes high-quality, high-technology, innovative low power photovoltaic devices. Their products and services range from simple solar power supplies until completed consumer or industrial products. Besides their own standard products they offer custom designed developments as well.
SOLARC has been founded in August 1997 in Berlin. Here is a close connection to scientific institutes such as the Hahn-Meitner-Institute and the Fraunhofer Institute IZM.
SOLARC became well-known with its design-solar mixer SoLait, the first and up to now the only solar driven kitchen appliance worlwide. After that measuring device, solar chargers and custom designed devices were developed by SOLARC. Apart of that SOLARC has developed small and highly efficient solar modules who can be produced especielly with novel automated methods in high volumes and very good quality.
Press contact at Ermenegildo Zegna
Press Office Ermenegildo Zegna
Tel.: +39 02 58175401
Press contact at SOLARC Innovative Solarprodukte GmbH
Tel.: +49 (0)30 46307-164
Fax: +49 (0)30 46307-167
Internet: www.solarc.de, www.solait.net
Backgrounder on Wearable Electronics
Definition of “Wearable Electronics”
The term “wearable electronics” refers to the functional, robust implementation of microelectronic circuits into innovative textiles or garments (“smart clothes”) in a way that is suitable for everyday use. When electronic capabilities are integrated into textiles, miniaturized semiconductor chips with low power-consumption levels are mounted on the fabric in special housings, and thin conductors are woven into the fabric to make electric connections.
Project partners with innovative ideas for wearable electronics concepts are waiting in the starting blocks. For the textile industry, a new wave of innovation has already begun.
The Market for Wearable Electronics
Modern integrated circuits provide the basis for advances in many areas and make it possible to realize applications that even recently were rejected as inconceivable. The textile industry – one of the largest industries, and one that affects everyone – stands to benefit from the advantages of smart functions that can now be implemented for the first time by integrating electronic elements into textiles. Thus, the market outlook for “smart textiles” is very promising.
According to the analysts from the US market research company Venture Development Corporation (VDC), the global market for wearable computing and communication systems will reach a volume of over 270 million US dollars in 2007, and it is expected to grow at a rate of more than 25 % annually.
|About Interactive Wear
Interactive Wear AG concentrates on the integration of electronic functions, components and systems into textile products and has one of the world’s leading platforms for wearable electronics technology at its disposal. The company has positioned itself as an electronics specialist for the textile industry as well as a textile specialist for the electronics industry. As a one-stop shop, Interactive Wear covers all developmental and production phases in the “wearable electronics” area – from consulting to custom development projects and all the way to the delivery of complete products that are ready for volume sales. For OEMs and ODMs, Interactive Wear supplies tailored production solutions. Besides fashion trends, the target markets primarily include sportswear and healthwear, safety clothing and protective workwear. Further information is available at http://www.interactive-wear.com