Exploring Wearable Technology: Solar Powered Book Bags
Vande Loo, Sam
The purpose of this study was to gauge public opinion on wearable technology, with an extra focus on solar panel integration. Thus, the researchers gathered the information needed to develop a useful wearable technology product. Despite growing interest in wearable technology, the use of solar panels in commercial products seems to be non-existent. Some 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 (Dunne, 2010). This mixed method research design is composed of two parts: 1) a student focus group interview 2) campus-wide online survey. The data gathered from this information was then used to develop a prototype that modeled the needs of potential consumers. Materials included conductive threads and flexible solar panels. 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.