With people juggling multiple digital devices that constantly need charging, backpack manufacturers have sensed a market opportunity. Some new backpacks are specifically designed not only to protect our smartphones, tablets, laptops, headphones and game players, but also to recharge them and track their whereabouts.
As Andrew Gregson trekked through the Sahara Desert in the 29th Marathon des Sables, he wanted to digitally chronicle the grueling 250-kilometer journey. His only issue was that there aren’t too many power outlets in the Sarah. There is more than enough sunlight, however, and that’s where companies such as Voltaic Systems step in.
At the Bike Expo New York over the weekend, I got the chance to meet Jeff Crystal of Voltaic Systems, a New York-based maker of photovoltaic systems. Crystal built a mobile charging station on the back of his bike that can supply devices with a charge within minutes. If there ever was an apocalypse–this is the guy to know.
New York-based Voltaic Systems, and a handful of other companies, are creating wearable and portable solar panel technology aimed to make solar power a viable reality for everyone, whether they live in Manhattan or Malawi.
At The Connected Traveler Technology Showcase at the New York Ties Travel Show, Jeff Crystal of Voltaic Systems showed the company's solar chargers and batteries that produce and store their own power so you can run your electronics anywhere.
This waterproof USB light features a stylish silver body and a patent-pending lens that you tap on to cycle through three brightness levels.
If you're on the hunt for a more hands-free lighting solution when you hit the great outdoors, consider Voltaic's new USB-powered Touchlight...
A Goodlifer favorite, the NYC-based Voltaic Systems has updated their line of portable solar charging accessories, and this portable zip-up fold-out model, their most compact, is on our wishlist.
When you buy an Emergency Portable Power Kit from Voltaic, they'll give the same kit to someone in need on the east coast.
They have deep discounts they can do direct donation as it makes sense.
"I was able to not only charge my own phone, but also the phones of my family members. It was invaluable, and I still travel with my Voltaic backpack whenever I go to the Kenyan countryside."
DIY Network's Rob Van Winkle, aka Vanilla Ice, shares age-appropriate gizmos that will give your kids an edge as they head back to school, including a solar-powered backpack and a pen that is also an audio recorder.
Voltaic's new Array Backpack features a powerful 10-Watt photovoltaic panel that can generate enough energy to charge a cell phone, tablet, camera, or even a laptop!
Voltaic Systems introduces a solar laptop charger which can charge the laptops along with other mobile devices.
You know it is going to be a good day at work when you get a solar-powered Lego Car in the mail. The folks at Play-Well sent it to us after choosing to use our panels for this project...
The company's most recent launch includes new solar chargers that can power up your laptop while latched on to a durable backpack.
Interview with Jeff Crystal, COO, and Phillip Stearns, Lead Product Development and Testing Technician, of Voltaic Systems.
Voltaic Systems has just introduced a $299 bag for your Apple iPad or other tablet computers that doubles as a solar charger.
While at CES 2011 Kate Abraham gets a chance to talk with Jeff Crystal of Voltaic Systems. On display at the show were the Voltaic Systems Spark Solar Tablet Case and the Voltaic Systems Generator Solar Laptop Charger...
This is one of the coolest things ever.
It seems we might finally have small, personal chargers that make practical sense.
More of those dreams about a white Christmas will likely include the color green this year.
Voltaic solar backpacks and messenger bags, made mostly of recycled plastic bottles, can convert a day's worth of sunlight into a full charge for a laptop, cell phone, or MP3 player.
Der Akku ist eine Erfindung, die uns das Leben erleichtert und uns zugleich stresst.
This nerd-chic backpack is something my friend swears by. It has solar panels on it and will charge all of your electronics while you're on the go.
A local tech expert helps a constantly touring musician streamline his gadgets.
The Voltaic Backpack's thoughtful design and solar-charging features shine.
These bags are futuristic in design and function.
While solar-powered bags have been around for years, this is the first to generate enough power to charge a laptop (up to 17 watts), using only a day's worth of sunlight.
We like solar bags, and this is one of the cream of the crop. It's relatively cheap as far as solar backpacks go, and Voltaic's experience -- it started making them in 2004 -- shows in the small details.
Laura Foy chats with Voltaic CEO Shayne about the laptop charging Generator, solar panels and the history of Voltaic.
With panels that crank out 4 watts in direct sunlight, one of Voltaic's backpacks or messenger bags can add 3 hours of battery life to your iPod for every hour it sits in the sun.
Get a charge out of these stylish backpacks that double as an energy source.
If carrying around some solar panels wasn't enough to make those Greenpeace gals quiver in their Birkenstocks whenever you walk by, you can also tell them that the bags are made with recycled PET, a heavy duty fabric made from post-consumer plastic products.
Here are some picks for clothing and accessories that do more than just hang off your shoulders. Add a solar-powered accessory with Voltaic's backpack or their newer bags
Shayne McQuade's company, Voltaic Systems, makes backpacks and messenger bags faced with solar panels that can charge things such as cell phones and PDAs. They're made in China. McQuade would like to explain why that is an environmentally progressive approach.
It's precisely because so many things are made in China. By sourcing his bags there, McQuade accrued a little influence. He told his manufacturer that he wanted the bags to be made from recycled PET plastic--soda bottles, essentially. The manufacturer couldn't find a supplier. So McQuade went to Taiwan and found the supplier himself. And here's the thing: Now his manufacturer makes products of recycled PET for lots of clients. Big clients...
"By working with these factories, we have a hope of changing the manufacturing systems and making those materials and that fabric available through mainstream channels," says McQuade. "And that's where you change the world. If I'm doing some artisanal project in the U.S., it's not the same."
McQuade dreamed up Voltaic, which is based in New York City, while bumming around Spain. He was looking for a change after a stint as a consultant at McKinsey and later as an entrepreneur during the dot-com boom, and he needed a way to recharge his cell phone. He ultimately devised a bag designed around lightweight, durable solar panels and a small rechargeable battery Next up: bags with enough light-harvesting technology to charge a laptop.