A team of researchers at North Carolina State University have devised an ingenious way to charge your gadgets on the move: With solar powered clothing. The designs use a process called digital textile printing to leverage the blocky solar panels into neck ties and jackets. In the case of the tie there’s even a hidden pocket to hold your device as it charges. Convenient. A five-day test found the clothing posed no significant health risk, including electric shock, although the neck tie design did have one major flaw. See if you can guess what it was.
Seems that solar panels, clothing-infused or not, are tough to tie in knots:
Application of the solar panels to the tie made it difficult to tie the knot. In typical tie knots, a small loop is created through which the large end of the tie is passed. At this step in the process, the physical width of the solar panel forces the user to enlarge their tie loop to allow the solar panel to pass through. The solar panels are limited to bending around a three inch diameter and should not be creased. Usage of narrower solar panels was considered, but there would be sacrifices in power generation. Applying solar panels to clip-on ties would eliminate this problem.