Attention all techies. If you’ve ever felt like something was missing amongst your electronics you use on the slopes, this is it. Fraunhofer IZM has recently developed a 3D solar panel that is all but invisible when mounted on a ski helmet.
Fraunhofer IZM, along with the TU Berlin and the company TEXSYS built a communication module that is the beginning of portable power for any electronics skiers and snowboarder may carry with them. Stereo headphones and handsets can charge. Mobile devices, i.e. smartphones and mp3 players, can then be connected wirelessly via Bluetooth. And incoming and seamlessly be picked up with the use of the accompanying Bluetooth-enabled glove. With the glove, there’s no need for peeling off your gloves in freezing conditions to change the song on you iPod. And best yet, there are no cables and it’s virtually weightless. And it will work in extreme temperatures. It’s a beautiful thing when electronics work in an integrated system you can rely on.
Even when the helmet is not being used, it can charge a smartphone or MP3 player.
The ability to attach the power module on the curved surface of a helmet suggests that it can easily be adapted to fit things like bicycles, backpacks, clothing, and car body parts. Consider the implications of retrofitting other types of helmets with the device. Any helmets that already use helmet headsets can use the new technology—motorcycle helmets and helmets for rescue teams.
What will something like this cost you? Field testing and redesign are the next steps, but when the helmet is scheduled for commercial release at the end of the year, the retail price will be around 300 Euros or about $393 USD at the current exchange rate. The modules themselves will be sold separately for less than 100 Euros or $131 USD depending on the specifications.
The solar helmet will be on display at the Fraunhofer IZM booth during “IDTechEx Energy Harvesting & Storage Europe 2012” in Berlin on May 15th and 16th.