Products and Design
New Flexible Solar USB Charger Can Charge iPhone 3.5 Times

Minnesota-based research group Skajaquoda has developed a flexible solar panel that goes around any bag strap and charges its internal battery as you go about your day.

The device, called Sun Strap, uses a 1.5W flexible solar panel and has a 5600 mAh built in battery that can charge any USB device such as a smartphone, tablet or camera. When fully charged, Sun Strap's battery is capable of charging an iPhone 5 three and a half times.

On the bottom, Sun Strap has a 5V/1A USB output, LED battery indicator and 5V/1A micro USB input so you can always leave the house with a full battery. It's lightweight, which makes it useful for outdoor activities, weighing only 5.8oz (165 grams) and with a size of: 3" x 15" (7.6 x 38 cm).

Sun Strap is designed to fit around any bag strap, such as a backpack, purse, golf bag, computer bag, and even a bike. It is made from weather and water resistant fabric. The device can be used in a multitude of ways: hiking, golfing, cycling, traveling, at school, at the beach, doing outdoor photography, or even place it on a car seat belt. For those of you recovering from last weekend’s Outside Lands music festival in San Francisco, imagine how handy this technology would have been to keep your smartphone juiced throughout the long days?

To get the product off the ground, Skajaquoda has launched a Kickstarter campaign, which aims to raise $15,000 by Tuesday, September 9.

Sure, solar backpacks have existed for quite some time, but they are expensive and not so easy on the eyes. Sun Strap promises to provide a more affordable and aesthetically-pleasing solution to on-the-go power generation needs.

Miniaturized solar innovation seem to be sprouting up everywhere. Recently, a pair of designers developed a new portable outlet that absorbs solar energy and converts it to electricity for everyday use. The device can be attached to a window or wall that gets a lot of sunlight and, after eight hours of charging, holds up to 10 hours of electricity. This can then be used to charge your phone or any number of electricity-hungry gadgets.

Some entrepreneurs are have even higher aspirations - to remake the entire electrical grid. For example, an Idaho couple has developed a modular paving system of solar panels that can be installed on roads, parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, bike paths, as well as playgrounds, and generate electricity to power homes and businesses connected via driveways and parking lots. The glass surface has been tested for traction, load testing and impact resistance in civil engineering laboratories around the country, and exceeded all requirements. This modular system could modernize an aging infrastructure with an intelligent system that can become the new Smart Grid.

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