Exploring Wearable Technology: Prototyping of Solar Powered Book Bags

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Date
2019-01-01
Authors
Beringer, Courtney
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Honors Projects and Posters
University Honors Program

The Honors project is potentially the most valuable component of an Honors education. Typically Honors students choose to do their projects in their area of study, but some will pick a topic of interest unrelated to their major.

The Honors Program requires that the project be presented at a poster presentation event. Poster presentations are held each semester. Most students present during their senior year, but may do so earlier if their honors project has been completed.

This site presents project descriptions and selected posters for Honors projects completed since the Fall 2015 semester.

Department
Mechanical Engineering
Abstract

The purpose of this study was to gauge public opinion on wearable technology and create a working prototype, with an extra focus on solar panel integration. Thus, the researchers collected information to develop a useful wearable technology product. Despite growing interest in wearable technology, the use of solar panels in commercial products is scarce. Companies have experimented with the integration of solar panels in clothing but have not been successful. This is due to multiple factors including aesthetics, efficiency, functionality, and price. This mixed method research design is composed of three phases: (a) a student focus group interview, (b) campus-wide online survey, and (c) prototyping. The collected data and textile testing guided the prototype design. Materials included a flexible solar panel, a lithium ion battery, and electrical converters. The prototype provides an example to companies of a product that would likely take off in the market, because it was designed from consumer input. The results of this study contribute to bridging the gap between the product developers and consumers concerning wearable technology. This research is a continuation of previous work with solar powered book bag development including a sleeker design and electrical integration.

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