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Solar Panels For Your Pants

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the put-some-power-in-your-pocket dept.

Power 81

Phoghat writes "A new line of clothes come with its own solar panels to charge small electronics in your pocket. It might be overdoing the 'Green' technology but for the low, low price of $920, you can own a pair of Go Urban Cargo Pants, which boasts 'fly front, low-slung drawstring waist, and two back patch pockets with button down flaps,' but the main reason you might want them is the: "'two side cargo pockets with independently functioning power supply.'"

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81 comments

Or I can charge my stuff at home (2)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 3 years ago | (#34686866)

And only pay $0.10/kWhr.
(Or work and pay 0.)
  And buy pants that don't suck.

Re:Or I can charge my stuff at home (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687910)

I'm not saying these pants don't suck, but I am saying that I only WISH I could buy electricity at $0.10/kWhr....

Re:Or I can charge my stuff at home (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687970)

I pay $0.08 sucker... Living in a city with a Nuke ROCKS!

Re:Or I can charge my stuff at home (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34688360)

I pay 8 cents also. Mine comes from coal. Id rather it didnt, but if they installed wind turbines it would be a whopping 11 cents, and the ppl around here dont want to pay that. *sigh*.

Re:Or I can charge my stuff at home (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 3 years ago | (#34715106)

Or follow the example of the folks over at http://www.otherpower.com/otherpower_wind.shtml [otherpower.com] and roll your own and cut out the middleman. Following the equipment paying for itself, you may save enough to buy these trendy britches.
        I offer an upgrade idea to make these pants an "ahead of their time, boon to mankind and several women". Send the power to a battery unit which will be switched via cleverly hidden button at the bottom of the crotch to a diode array and eventually a spark gap in the vicinity of your sphincter. Once a previously socially offensive blast of gas from that Reuben and stout you had for lunch appears in your lower colon, reach down, grab your crotch (hitting the button), utter an appropriate phrase or sound and let her rip! Your erstwhile smelly issue is now fueling your extremely afterburner pants. Be the life of the party, amaze your friends, eliminate pollution in an entirely green way ( that hippy chick down the block will give you some leg for sure!) The once socially unacceptable fart is now converted to an entirely cool flame shooting out your ass. This will revolutionize society, maybe create new sports, it's a win win win situation. Free electricity, mind blowing wardrobe and alter the market value of cabbage worldwide.
      Is this a cool world or what?

Re:Or I can charge my stuff at home (1)

BisexualPuppy (914772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689818)

0.03e here in France (country wide). That's about $0.02, so I guess I won't be wearing pants anytime soon.

Re:Or I can charge my stuff at home (1)

Dasuraga (1147871) | more than 3 years ago | (#34739108)

0.03e is about 5 cents, but yeah, France definitely gets a good deal on electricity, especially for people living in the boonies.

Re:Or I can charge my stuff at home (1)

!eopard (981784) | more than 3 years ago | (#34693626)

19.41c per :( only good thing about it is that I'm on the same grid as two hospitals - the power has *never* gone out, but if it did you know that it would be a damn high priority to get it back online.

To head them off... (1)

TheL0ser (1955440) | more than 3 years ago | (#34686872)

Insert the multitude of "power between the thighs/legs" jokes here.

There, that should cover about half the comments.

Re:To head them off... (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687314)

I'm merely questioning the wisdom of putting solar panels where the sun don't shine.

The concept is pants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34686926)

Why would you put solar panels on your pants when common decency would require that you cover them up with trousers before venturing out of doors?

A new form of nerd ID (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#34686944)

Why bother opening your mouth with D&D 4th edition rulings or fun fact about the merovigian kings? Let your PANTS tell the football players at school that YOU'RE the person they should be beating up!!!

Re:A new form of nerd ID (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#34688010)

But herein lies the problem. These pants wil NOT be worn by a nerd. Nerds know they are 100% useless and wont work, Only rich yuppies with no IQ or education on the subject will buy them.

So they are "rob me" indicators.

Re:A new form of nerd ID (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689194)

But herein lies the problem. These pants wil NOT be worn by a nerd. Nerds know they are 100% useless and wont work, Only rich yuppies with no IQ or education on the subject will buy them.

So they are "rob me" indicators.

I think thieves have a little more fashion sense than stealing pants that ugly. And a little more common sense than wearing blood-covered solar pants in front of the cop investigating a rash of solar pants robberies.

Re:A new form of nerd ID (1)

MokuMokuRyoushi (1701196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34727120)

Possible "whoosh" on my part, but I think the gp was implying that being seen with those pants says nothing besides "I have far too much money".

I’m too lazy to calculate it... (1)

clone52431 (1805862) | more than 3 years ago | (#34686966)

Would someone like to try to figure up how many charges you’d have to get from these pants for them to pay for themselves?

For that matter, you could also try to figure up what percentage of the energy used to build the solar panels and assemble the pants you’d recoup from the solar panels over their useful lifespan.

Re:I’m too lazy to calculate it... (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687172)

I actually own a backpack with a solar panel, and IMO you don't buy that sort of thing to save money.

My own rationale was that I'm a heavy user of my N900. I play music, browse websites and use the GPS, and that sort of thing can drain the battery really fast. It's nice to have an extra reserve of power for when it's needed.

I also like to travel, and it gives me considerable peace of mind knowing that if I run out of battery at an inconvenient time, I have a reserve.

backpack with a solar panel, (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687380)

A solar panel on a backpack is more practical. For one thing you can leave it out in the sun if you are resting in the shade of a tree (or are in a pub having a beer.)

Re:backpack with a solar panel, (2)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687896)

Also, a solar panel on your backpack doesn't necessarily guarantee that you're going to get a beating when you arrive at school.

Re:backpack with a solar panel, (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34691654)

(or are in a pub having a beer

Yeah you could hitch it to the post beside other peoples horses. Perhaps it should come with a bicycle cable lock.

Incidentally I work in an office building with many of our state's police. I noticed that they now wear this solid body armour stuff as part of their normal uniform. Its not hard to imagine that you could build solar cells into the same material and maybe use the power to operate communications or lighting gear.

Re:backpack with a solar panel, (1)

arisvega (1414195) | more than 3 years ago | (#34695440)

.. and maybe use the power to operate communications or lighting gear.

Hahah I read "lightning gear"

Re:backpack with a solar panel, (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34695454)

.. and maybe use the power to operate communications or lighting gear.

Hahah I read "lightning gear"

They already carry those but I believe they run on batteries.

Re:I’m too lazy to calculate it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34688132)

I can see that if you are a nomad and wander the wastelands. But 99.7% of everyone else will get near an electrical outlet at least 50 times a day. and that electrical outlet even used for 5 minutes will charge your item 3X more than your backpack can all day long.

You bought it for the "look at me" factor. Otherwise you would have about a far more effective fold up soar charger for the same money that would deliver 3X more charging current in the same sunlight. But it's not visible all the time for the "look at me" effect.

Re:I’m too lazy to calculate it... (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 3 years ago | (#34688684)

I can see that if you are a nomad and wander the wastelands. But 99.7% of everyone else will get near an electrical outlet at least 50 times a day. and that electrical outlet even used for 5 minutes will charge your item 3X more than your backpack can all day long.

Actually it charges things at about the maximum speed possible since it's got an internal battery. I also spend a fairly large amount of time on the street and underground, where there are no outlets.

You bought it for the "look at me" factor.

Actually it's more like this: I think it's cool, I find it useful, it's my small contribution to further development of solar panels, and it goes nicely with my interest in wearable computing. What people think of it is way down the list, though I have nothing against buying things for that reason either.

Otherwise you would have about a far more effective fold up soar charger for the same money that would deliver 3X more charging current in the same sunlight. But it's not visible all the time for the "look at me" effect.

No, that would be considerably less practical unless I was heavily into camping. It'd get 3X more current for the few minutes I might ocassionally sit in a park, and nothing during the rest of the day.

clone served up "extra crispy" for his trolling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34688458)

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1922942&cid=34684420 [slashdot.org] you're getting absolutely smoked, badly, clone. That's what you get for trolling others and saying your code worked, when the person you trolled had to show you how to correct your mistakes in your pseudocode bullshit you tried to fool others with there. That's pitiful clone, it really is. You got your butt handed to you before by that same ac apk on hosts files and you ran there too. Get over it, you suck at computing clone. You're a noob, a rookie, at most. This is why nobody has ever said your work in computing was any good: You've showed us all there you blew it trying to take on someone who has done well in commercial code products even. The worst part is, you tried trolling him posting as ac, and you forgot to keep hitting your submit as anonymous that time. Bad job clone. I'd give up computing were I you. You suck. Badly. You FAIL, hugely, as usual!

Washable? (3, Insightful)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34686968)

I'm seeing a lot of the clothes with integrated technological bits and I always wonder one thing: Is this washable? From the looks of it, these things use removable solar panels. If someone forgets to remove them, I'm guessing you wind up with a $920 dollar pair of regular pants that looks ugly to boot. Let's face it, if you're stupid enough to shell out $920 bucks for these things, you probably aren't the sharpest bowling ball on the rack and you probably will forget to take them out when you wash it.

Re:Washable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34687012)

the sharpest bowling ball on the rack

Remeber kids, always choose the sharpest bowling ball. It is the only way to be sure!

Re:Washable? (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687680)

Now why would washability be of concern to the average Slashdot reader? Dammit, mom's calling, have to cut this short.

Re:Washable? (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34688196)

If they can afford to shell out $920 for an ugly pair of pants, they probably haven't done their own laundry in a while anyway.

Re:Washable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34688270)

If you can afford a 920$ pair of pants, you probably pay somebody else to do your laundry.

That and (1)

GlibOne (1203032) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689332)

This is the worst place to put a solar panel other then the bottom of your shoe. It is slightly tilted at the ground. A smaller (read less expensive) solar panel on on a hat makes more sense.

Re:Washable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34727170)

The irony of your derogatory comment at the end(the sharpest bowling ball on the rack) mixes wonderfully the fact that you're trying to call others stupid.

-The Brightest Knife in the Drawer.

Looks pointless (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687026)

Those panels are way too small and badly positioned to be of any use. It also sounds like a scam, it's way too expensive. Solar panels don't cost that much.

I own an older model of this solar backpack [voltaicsystems.com] and I'd say that anything smaller than that wouldn't be very useful. In my experience it comes very handy (for somebody who heavily uses a phone for music, web browsing and talking), but it is still limited by the panel. The backpack charges an internal battery and can charge a smartphone or music player. Most people just don't have anything smaller than that.

Also as it's a backpack it's always possible to place it near a window or outside of the shadow, which would be rather difficult with a pair of pants. And it's a very nicely made backpack too.

I think solar clothing could be quite awesome, but it'd have to be entirely made of a flexible solar panel, and not just have a tiny one glued on somewhere.

Awesome backpack that... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 3 years ago | (#34688670)

I too have the last-year's model.
Love what they did with making the solar panels detachable on the new model, although I personally would have preferred if they've kept the old 3-plate configuration.
The new 2-plate one has somewhat less power and definitely less redundancy. 2 x 2 Watts instead of 3 x 1.5 Watts.
Might be problematic with those devices that require to be charged directly from the panels as they need more than 600mA that the battery provides.

On the other hand, I don't really think that redundancy should ever be a problem with this backpack. Those plates are really sturdy.
I've once slipped on a wet tile floor, and landed with all of my 85 kilos of weight directly on my back(pack).
The fall knocked the wind right out of me but the plates were not even scratched. Or anything else in the backpack, including my sunglasses that were just tossed in.

Only complaint I have is regarding that small bag/pocket on the inside of the big compartment, right below the handle - it can be hard to access as it is jammed at the very top of the backpack.
And I find that a perfect place for my USB sticks and other small items.

Also, their support is great.
Adapters for my phone and PDA were not among the 10 provided with the backpack.
I emailed them to complain about that, and to order the ones that I would need.
But since their shipping form automatically selects the UPS Worldwide Express for the shipments to Europe, I emailed them again regarding that and to ask if the adapters I've found on ebay would be compatible.

And they send me two of each for free. Even though I bought the backpack from a seller on Amazon, and not directly from their store.

Completely useless! (1)

pappastech (1891440) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687334)

This is ridiculous...where do most of the people with small electronic devices that MIGHT consider something like this live? In big cities...with tall buildings that block almost all direct sunlight that would be available to convert to electricity. Not to mention that standing next to a bunch of people also lessens the amount of sunlight hitting the solar panels on these pants. These are purely a fashion/political statement and serve no practical function...NEXT!

Fashion statement (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 3 years ago | (#34691546)

These are meant to show you are fashionably green when you go out clubbing. The only bright light they will ever see is from strobes.

Solar fashion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34687400)

Build it and they will come.

Not even remotely practical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34687682)

Well, I suppose there's some novelty to this. But for the same weight and bulk as these solar panels, you could carry a dozen spare phone batteries. Or you could buy these, still need the spare batteries anyways (because you can't wear them every day), pay a bunch up front, pay a bunch for dry cleaning, be encumbered, and look, not like a nerd, but like you're trying to pretend to be a nerd by wasting money.

where to begin... (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687702)

  1. They're ugly
  2. They scream "Rob me, I'm carrying expensive electronics"
  3. They're not going to charge anything very fast
  4. You're better off carrying a spare battery...

So, out of morbid curiosity and boredom, I read the fucking article and I read the product literature. It's a small solar panel that charges an integrated battery pack. The battery pack is then used to charge your device. I again point to my initial conclusion that you're better off carrying a spare battery.

Re:where to begin... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689064)

The solar-charged battery combination works very well for other such devices.
It is actually exactly what you would want from a solar system - solar when there is sun, solar-charged battery backup when there isn't.

The problem with these pants is that they are hideously ugly, ridiculously expensive and utterly impractical.
And with $175 for replacement panels it is clear that this is a product aimed at that consumer group much bellowed by sellers worldwide - fools with money.

Re:where to begin... (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690530)

So, basically we agree. You know, if it was like a flexible solar panel on a backpack, which I've seen and would use on hiking trips, I'd buy into the idea. In an urban environment (which the pants appear to be designed for) there's no point to the solar charger. Easy access to electrical power is all around you. I stand by my statement, carry a spare battery and charger.

Re:where to begin... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 3 years ago | (#34691530)

Well, with a backpack version you don't need a spare battery or a charger. If you carry the backpack around anyway.
Also, it is handy when a friend needs to charge his/her phone/pda/etc. - as long as you have the right adapter or it uses a micro-USB connector for charging.
Also, you can get one of those USB chargers for AA batteries and pour you excess power into those.

As I do have one of those backpacks I can tell you that I don't use any of my chargers from spring to late fall.
I could probably get by with solar only in the winter too - if I was living a dozen floors up or simply in a place with little less smog.

One big caveat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34688308)

I don't think the type of person who would wear these pants spends enough time outside for them to be useful

See it, then hear it in your head... (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 3 years ago | (#34688456)

That's word because you know
U can't touch this (oh-oh oh oh-oh-oh)
Break it down
(Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh oh-oh)
Stop Hammer time

Hey, you there! (1)

drej (1663541) | more than 3 years ago | (#34688558)

You want clean energy, buddy? Well asshole, I got your clean energy right here.

so ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34688936)

Solar powered rocket pants?

Zap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34689176)

This is just stupid. I hope it electrocutes the wearer when it rains.

Now with power boosting shirt (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689282)

A radioactive orange shirt gives off enough light to your solar pants to charge a cellphone!

I'm English you insensitive clod (2)

Eggbloke (1698408) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689570)

I really did think this was talking about underpants, I was like: "But no light will get there" when I read the title.

Portable solar panels? (1)

ZappedSparky (1935014) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689698)

Back in 1999 or thereabouts on holiday I picked up a hat that had a solar panel on the top, and a fan in the brim that blew onto your face. I thought it was the epitome of personal solar technology. I guess it still is after looking at those pants.

huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34689718)

How about we worry about getting affordable panels on the roof of my house, then we can worry about making electric knickers.

Olden (1)

eyenot (102141) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690466)

Two years ago I met a girl at a college dorm party who was wearing a solar power coat. This has to have been in /. news, already, right?

UK translation: they don't mean underwear (2)

fantomas (94850) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690536)

In the UK "pants" mean "underwear". So some of the slashdot readers on the other side of the pond were probably very confused about this article :-)

In the UK those outwear items you wear on your legs over your underwear / pants are called "trousers".

YOU FAIL IT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34691028)

those oAbliUgations.

These suck. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34692668)

You could do it better yourself for a Sh** ton less than $900. E-textiles, Electronic textiles, Electronic clothing are beginning to make their way to the mainstream, but the technologies are not being integrated properly. The solar panel on these pants looks like a standard 1.5v glass panel so i am assuming its not washable unless this can be removed. The problem is the implementation is all wrong, most of the companies today are adding electronics to existing clothing which is completely wrong in my opinion. The right way to make these pants and they still would not be $900, would be to use a newer flexible thin film solar cell or cells that can be flexible also instead of running a wire between the layers of fabric you use conductive thread and weave the wire through the fabric. Yes its all washable (if you remove batteries first). if you want to know what is good in the world of electronic textiles check out Leah Buechley with MIT's Media lab, I don't represent her or MIT in any way but I have made a few pieces of clothing the used her lilipad arduino combined with a 5w speaker system a blue tooth adapter and an ipod hookup my ski jacket has the ability to play music through my coat in speakers mounted in the collar using the blue tooth on my phone or the ipod hookup directly and i built it including coat for under $400 but i did not incorporate a solar panel just rechargeable lith ions that have to be removed before i wash the coat. do it yourself there are a few tutorials out there you will save money and have fun in the process

hmmm (1)

Schmyz (1265182) | more than 3 years ago | (#34742980)

not to sure that my lovely better half would want anything electric that generates energy in my pants....
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