Eclipse - Solar Handbag 2013
Eclipse is a solar cell bag that harvests solar energy to supply power for your mobile devices as well as a light inside your bag.
With the boom of environmental consciousness, bags with integrated solar cells that charge your mobile phone or laptop will become commonplace. An existing solution is to fix slim, flexible solar modules onto a messenger style bag, but the result is non-integrated in appearance. Diffus Design has developed a high-end fashion handbag through a cross-disciplinary development of textile surfaces with solar sequins.
During daytime hours, one hundred mini-solar power stations distributed across the surface of The Eclipse handbag generate enough electricity to charge a mobile device, as well as a powerful lithium ion battery hidden within a small compartment. When opening the bag at night or in dark surroundings, optical fibres that are attached to the inside of the bag are activated. A diffuse glow is created to assist in the search for keys, purses or other objects.
An aesthetic approach to function
The bag was developed based on the desire to create a solar energy harvesting surface that offers maximum design freedom while still being highly efficient is the driving force behind.
Working around existing technologies was not an option: Most textile-based products have limited surface areas available and therefore thin film solar cells have limitations regarding efficiency and aesthetics. The technology behind The Eclipse Handbag is based on miniaturising the currently most efficient photovoltaic material, mono-crystalline silicon, into oversized sequins and processing them through traditional textile techniques. The shape of the bag resembles the story between the relationship between the sun and moon – between light source and enlightened. Therefore the shape mimics an eclipse where the moon – the enlightened – interfere or interact with the sun – the light source. The surface is embroidered with an integrated combination of normal embroidery and conductive embroidery that is able to convey the energy harvested for the solar sequins to the rechargeable battery.
Promise of a powerful future
The Eclipse Handbag illustrates an early development step towards highly efficient, textile based solar cell surfaces. The first generation of solar elements showed an efficiency of 9% when converting solar energy into electrical energy. Overall, the solar elements distributed on The Eclipse Handbag are able to generate 2 Watts, more than enough energy to charge a mobile device, even at low daily exposure to sunlight. The next generation of solar elements are already promising - the new developments will double the efficiency.
Development of the solar elements was initiated by Swiss embroidery company Forster Rohner AG and conducted in a joint research project between the Hochschule für Technik Rapperswil (CH) and the NTB Buchs (CH). The Eclipse Handbag was created by Diffus Design (DK), in collaboration with the Swiss partners and The Alexandra Institute (DK) and Center for Software Innovation (DK).
Design and concept: Hanne-Louise Johannesen and Michel Guglielmi (Diffus Design)
Programming and engineering: Kenneth Weiss
Design Assistents: Stine Lagefoged and Yasamin Zafar
Leather craft/design: Katja Knudsen
Project partner: Forster Rohner
Photography: Lisbeth Holten