Solar power fitness trackers aren’t new ideas, as a matter of fact the two brands Swarovski & Misfit teamed up to introduce the “Shine” at the 2015 Las Vegas CES Expo. Swarovski, a 120-yr old jewelry maker and the highly successful Misfit Corporation, believe they have uncovered an easier way to power your fitness tracker.
The violet tracker, shown in the photo above, is solar powered by how the crystal bends light onto the small solar cell embedded underneath the crystal. Harvesting the solar energy can only work with the violet crystal tracker due to how the violet color increases the lights intensity, said Joan Ng, a senior vice president at Swarovski–also noted that the clear crystal just doesn’t produce enough intensity to harness and sustain solar capability.
Furthering my research, I came across other articles related to research and development of solar-powered tech gear, which seems to have promising possibilities for future wearable upgrades. One research group in particular stood out for me, and here’s why.
The international research team led by University of Illinois Materials Scientist John Rogers, have developed stretchable, waterproof solar powered batteries that stretch across the skin like a bandage, “giving light to new ways to explore self-charging wearables”.
Flexible power supplies, create a challenge for research teams. And, to overcome this issue, John Rogers and his team decided to turn chopped up everyday lithium-ion batteries, into super small and ultra-thin individual tiles that could be wire connected, adding layers of soft, sturdy, and stretchable rubber, and finally layering tiny solar cells atop of the battery cells and biosensor chips.
What you are left with is ultra-thin, stretchable, waterproof solar powered skin-like material that can be used for an array of products, from wrist worn products to smart clothing for storing energy and collecting health-related data.
At the end of my research, I was left wondering how this could ultimately affect wearable companies like fitjewels, and how this would require the fitjewels designers and manufacturer to adapt to this level of technology.
It would seem, that in time, fitness tracker and smartwatch straps, could be inlayed with solar powered skin like material, allowing for many brands and designers to make use of this technology. Could this product be useful for older versions of fitness trackers? The possibilities seem open to many types of opportunities.
Ultimately, I believe moving away from fitness trackers and smartwatches that require constant charging or battery changing, will become the new trend, and will allow for growth and opportunities to explore designs that incorporate solar powered technology, moving beyond what Swarovski and Misfit have created.
For now, fitjewels is dedicated to bringing consumers, products that are not only made of high-quality materials; genuine leather, high-grade stainless steel, sterling silver and 18kt gold, but products that are compatible wearable jewelry pieces for brands like; Fitbit, Misfit Ray, & Jawbone UP Move.