Charging your devices on the go could be as easy as putting them in your backpack. Dutch designer Pauline van Dongen has conceptualized and created a new pack that incorporates minuscule solar power beads, simplifying the recharging of smartphones tablets and other devices using the energy of the sun and a built-in cable.
Called the Radius backpack, this handy bag features a strap that incorporates the solar-powered charging technology. The harvested energy is then sent through the charging cable, where it subsequently re-juices whatever you choose to plug in. “From afar, [the strap] appears to blend with the knit of the top lid. But a closer look reveals how light breaks on a beaded surface,” van Dongen told Dezeen. “This magical material holds secret powers: each bead is a tiny spherical solar cell that is woven into the fabric, creating a unique energy harvesting textile.”
A single piece of fabric was used in the construction of the rest of the bag, making it quite the aesthetic marvel. The material in question is a double-layered jersey fabric, created by using different yarns and “data-driven knitting machines.” The material is patterned through and through with ridged lines and dots to give the bag more texture, and is in fact made using specialty yarns that claim to create various dimensions.
But it’s not all just for show — these varying dimensions claim to give way to extra padding on the backside and shoulder straps of the Radius, optimizing comfort levels for the wearer.
“Radius is constructed out of a single continuous knitted piece and tailored to explorers on a short escape,” van Dongen noted. “Specialty yarns, such as expansion yarns are mixed with high shrinking effects. This creates a variety of densities and give an additional structure and form to the engineered patterns. By utilizing the double jersey machine the material smoothly combines single layer fabric with double layer fabric.”
This isn’t the first time that the Dutch designer has brought together solar charging technology and fabric; in 2013, she created a capsule collection that featured solar-powered panels under cleverly-placed flaps to turn clothing into a portable phone charger.
It’s unclear if you can buy the Radius backpack, and if you can, how much it’ll cost. But it’s certainly an interesting concept that, fingers crossed, could one day go mainstream.