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Is it possible to create a solar powered personal umbrella? Answered

I see lots of patio umbrellas but no personal umbrellas. 

There are MANY people who use umbrellas to block the sun.  It would be neat if you could create the umbrellas and then detattachable accessories like small fans, MP3 rechargers, simple air purifiers (with mask attachments for the paranoid...) etc.

3 Replies

RavingMadStudios (author)2009-11-30

Maybe you could mount the cells onto a set of rigid/semi-rigid slats along the vanes, or possibly a "donut" around the point. Maybe both?
You could prototype with slats from vinyl mini-blind, and expand from there.

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Kiteman (author)2009-11-30

You can get flexible solar cells, but they are not flexible enough to fold with a traditional umbrella.

If you're up for a lot of fiddly conductive sewing, I would position lines of these tiny solar cells along the spines of the umbrella (avoid using one of those umbrellas that shortens when it closes).

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seandogue (author)2009-11-30

yes, it would be possible, but you'll need to deal with the solar cell rigidity and fragility (in a real world application for today's DIY) in the design of said umbrella

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