Forgot to charge your iPod for the beach? Just plug it into a solar-powered bikini...
Last updated at 1:02 PM on 2nd June 2011
It might look like an average bikini but this swimsuit doubles as a solar-powered socket capable of recharging your portable electronic devices.
The Solar Bikini allows the wearer - or her (very) close friends - to plug an iPod or camera into USB sockets embroidered into the fabric.
It works because the fabric is crafted using photo-voltaic panels sewn together with conductive thread.
She's electric: The Solar Bikini is powered by the sun and has USB sockets stitched in for the wearer to plug in an electronic device
The brainchild of Brooklyn-based designed Andrew Schneider, each bikini is made to measure and involves up to 80 hours of painstaking hand-stitching.
Unsurprisingly, they cost more than £120 each, depending on the size of the wearer.
Mr Schneider, 30, also hopes to create a male swimsuit that can cool beer.
He said: 'I use 40 individual paper-thin flexible, photo-voltaic panels for each bikini. I sew them together over a normal bikini using soft-conductive thread.
'The panels have to be stitched together in a very specific way to get proper voltage and amperage.
'Anything that you can power or charge through a USB connection you can power and charge using the solar bikini,assuming of course you're out and about under the sun.'
USB socket: The swimsuit is powered by photo-voltaic panels sewn together with conductive thread
Keen swimmers will still be able to go for a dip in the sea - provided no electronic device is plugged in at the time and as long as the USB ports are dried before use afterwards.
'The best thing is, you don't even have to stay confined to just sunbathing,' Mr Schneider said.
'You can even take it in the water with you as long as you're completely dry before hooking up again.'
The New York University graduate originally wanted to design a bikini that could also cool beer using a Peltier junction - an electrified junction which acts as a cooling device.
Each bikini is made to measure and involves up to 80 hours of painstaking hand-stitching. Unsurprisingly, they cost more than £120 each
But he soon realised more amps would be needed, so has now set his sights on men's swimming shorts which would have a larger surface area.
He said: 'The irony of a solar-powered bikini is that bikinis are normally tiny to give you maximum exposure to the sun.
'But anything that's solar-powered needs a big surface area to soak up as much sun as possible.
'It's a delicate balance getting enough power and making sure the bikinis are still sexy.
'The bikinis transfer energy directly to whatever they're hooked up to meaning no energy is stored and they are totally safe.
'Five volts at under an amp is a charge you wouldn't even be able to feel.'
The Solar Bikini is available at www.solarcoterie.com.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1393434/Forgot-charge-iPod-beach-Just-plug-solar-powered-bikini-.html#ixzz1O7aKAn00