Here’s an unusual way to keep your smartphone charged — with a solar-powered dress.
That’s what fashion designer Pauline van Dongen is developing with her startup Wearable Solar. She brought a prototype dress to Brooklyn’s Northside Festival last month, where I had a chance to see the dress in action.
Van Dongen told me that she had two main inspirations:
One of them is the fact that we highly depend on connectivity. We’re all addicted to our smartphones and we want them constantly powered, and the better our batteries get, the more we’ll use them. And at the same time, working as a werable tech designer, I know the difficulties when integrating these kind of bulky batteries that don’t allow for any comfort or wearability. So that’s why I thought, why not power your phone through your clothes? And eventually power other interactive qualities that our garments are becoming a platform for.
In the video interview above, van Dongen discusses how the dress is affected by the weather, as well as the next steps in moving from prototype to commercial product. She was actually part of a larger group of startups attending the festival from the Netherlands, so I also talked to both her and Rob de Vos, consul general for the Netherlands in New York, about their visit to Brooklyn.