Konarka Technologies Inc and Textronics Inc yesterday announced a joint development program to create prototype garments and fashion accessories with portable, wearable power generation capabilities.

The technology will utilise Konarka's light-activated Power Plastic and Textronics' electronic textile systems to provide renewable, wearable energy sources for personal electronic devices.

The two companies hope the programme will overcome the shortcomings of conventional power technologies by enabling consumers to have energy generation ability with them at all times.
At present, the functionality of mobile communication, computing and entertainment devices such as phones, digital music players, cameras and PDAs is limited by the available power and the inconvenience of recharging or replacing batteries.
According to Daniel Patrick McGahn, Konarka's executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Konarka's commercialisation strategy centres on partnering around product applications to extend and enhance the functionality of those products.

"Textronics' technologies will allow for the end product to have a soft textile-like feel while Konarka's materials will provide the renewable power," added Textronics chief executive officer Stacey Burr.

The resulting systems will be flexible and integrated in a way that will retain many of the qualities of conventional textiles, providing an overall consumer experience that is more like wearing a jacket or carrying a messenger bag than charging a device.

Konarka's added abilities to provide coloured and patterned Power Plastic technology will allow for innovative aesthetic solutions.

"This joint effort will show designer-label manufacturers how we can bring new benefits to consumers through their everyday clothing and fashion accessories, including increased levels of convenience, freedom of use and performance while minimally affecting the garments' overall weight, size or appearance," said McGahn.