Pauline Van Dongen’s Solar Parka With a Purpose #WearableWednesday
The last time I posted about a solar jacket it was Tommy Hilfiger’s bright blue plaid model. Well, this muted solar parka by Pauline Van Dongen has a natural color perfect for the UNESCO park it was inspired by. Made in collaboration with Waddenvereniging, the Dutch Wadden Sea Society, it was designed for the “Wad Walkers”, the people who give guided eco tours of the park during low tide. Doing tours all day long can certainly drain your phone, and nature doesn’t really have power outlets available. However, the sun can be an ally, and this new coat is ready to connect.
The coat gets power through a flexible solar panel buttoned on the outside of a pocket. It is weather proof, and when not in use, it can be removed and placed in a large pocket on the side of the coat. The solar panel is designed by AltaDevices, and with good sunlight, it can charge a phone in two hours. Not only is the coat utilizing energy harvesting, but it is also sustainable in its design by using special yarns containing recycled denim from Blue LOOP. Remember that denim was first used as sails for ships and is very sea friendly, so this really is an ideal textile solution for the project.
Something that I really like about the coat is its unconventional shape. Usually parkas are puffy and stiff, yet this coat has a flow that allows a bit of movement. Photographer Jan-Willem Bullée has done a nice job of connecting the shifting sands found on the shoreline with the design. The coat’s softer line also adds balance to the sharp edges of the technology filled pocket. Having come from a recent trip to Maine, I can tell you this jacket has a classic look that just seems right with the natural crowd. Yet, it also has a minimalist look that urbanites are going to love. If you are also loving it, three of her coats will be auctioned off at an upcoming benefit festival and you can participate here.
It’s really interesting watching Pauline’s work shift as she enters into different collaborations and I like how she manifests science and technology. Solar panels are progressing and they’ve become small enough to be used in different wearable projects. If you want to dive into a sun friendly project, check out our Solar Boost Bag. You can transform a tote or purse into an energy harvesting machine. I’ve got one and I love it!
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Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.