Konarka Technologies, Inc., and Textronics, Inc., announced a joint development program to create prototype garments and fashion accessories with portable, wearable power-generation capabilities. The technology will utilize Konarka's light-activated Power Plastic(TM) and Textronics' electronic textile systems to provide renewable, wearable energy sources for personal electronic devices.
Today's techno-savvy consumers are carrying more and more mobile communication, computing and entertainment devices, such as phones, digital music players, cameras and PDAs. Each of these devices relies on batteries, but their functionality is limited by the available power and the inconvenience of recharging or replacing batteries. By combining Konarka's Power Plastic and Textronics' electronic textile systems into wearable electronics, the companies will overcome the shortcomings of conventional power technologies by enabling consumers to have energy generation ability with them at all times.
According to Daniel Patrick McGahn, Konarka's executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Konarka's commercialization strategy centers on partnering around product applications to extend and enhance the functionality of those products. The demonstration products Konarka is developing with Textronics are an implementation of those plans.
"Our expertise with electronic textile materials, components and systems is a natural complement to Konarka's Power Plastic development," said Textronics Chief Executive Officer Stacey Burr. "Textronics' technologies will allow for the end product to have a soft textile-like feel while Konarka's materials will provide the renewable power."
The resulting systems will be flexible and integrated in a way that will retain many of the qualities of conventional textiles, providing an overall consumer experience that is more like wearing a jacket or carrying a messenger bag than charging a device. Konarka's added abilities to provide colored and patterned Power Plastic technology will allow for innovative aesthetic solutions.
"This joint effort will show designer-label manufacturers how we can bring new benefits to consumers through their everyday clothing and fashion accessories, including increased levels of convenience, freedom of use and performance while minimally affecting the garments' overall weight, size or appearance," said McGahn.