This project started with a tragedy: while crossing the street, I was clipped by a car's sideview mirror and my arm was broken. While wearing a plastic, futuristic looking arm brace at a technology conference, many of the other attendees had ideas for tech I could rig up to it for added functionality. Among some blinking red LEDs, a class IIIA laser and an iPhone dock, was my original armband solar generator.
While out wearing the generator, which I named Apollo, out at New York Comic Con, I had many people asking me if I was selling it. The more friends I talked to, the more excitement I saw in having something like this available. I started to see how valuable it would be to have hours of extra energy for mobile devices with you as long as the sun shined. I worked to design a new Apollo, one that would be simple, aesthetically pleasing, light-weight and could be mass produced.
With the new third generation Apollo, that vision is complete. However, I can't mass produce a large amount of them on my own steam. If you've ever wanted an easy way to DOUBLE THE BATTERY LIFE for your iPhone, iPad, Android phone or tablet, this is it. If there's 25 or more people committed to that reality, I can get these Apollos shipping out by next month. Let's make it happen!
Voltaic Systems, the company that manufactures the solar panel and battery for my project, have been very helpful in the pursuit of this goal. I use their 2 Watt, 6 Volt Panel, which retails for $25, as well as their USB Battery V11, which retails for $40.
While the solar panel is rugged, I further protect it with a quarter inch layer of clear acrylic sheet, which is laser cut to exactly fit the size and shape of the panel.
Additional costs include black Velcro strips, black nylon strapping with plastic buckles, a black cotton armband and some type of super glue. I've found Loctite All Temperature Repair Extreme to be the strongest and clearest of glues sampled.
I expect to produce 20 units per day, as the preferred choice glue takes 24 hours to reach full bonding strength.
This kit is very easy to assemble. I laser cut the shield and straps before it's shipped, so once you get it, all that's left to do is careful placement of velcro and shield pieces and using super glue wisely. No electronics experience required!
There's a clear acrylic shield over the face of the solar panel, and the battery is tucked behind it all. It is by no means water proof, but it should easily deflect heavy rain.
The Apollo weighs less than a pound.
The Apollo is comfortable to wear, with only the armband and nylon strapping touching the skin. It is designed to be worn for extended periods, and has been tested with activities like running.
All solar panels are only as efficient as the angle at which light hits them. Direct sun is best. With a solar panel on your arm, you can easily swivel the device to the sun's direction, maximizing efficiency.
While the Apollo is designed to be worn on the arm, it's nylon strapping can be used to attach it to a backpack, leg, railing, tent or pole.
The battery used in the Apollo is manufactured by Voltaic Systems. It is a Lithium Polymer rechargeable battery with protections that include short circuit, over charge, over discharge, over current and over temperature.
Output: 5.5V 600mA
Maximum Output Power: 3.3 Watts
Output Capacity: 3000 mAh
If the battery is being charged from direct sunlight, it will be 100% full in 7 hours. If it's being charged from a wall charger, it will be completely full in 5.5 hours.
The solar panel portion of the Apollo is 135mm by 112mm, or 5.31" by 4.41".
The solar panel part of the Apollo is covered in a layer of clear acrylic to protect it. The battery is the most vulnerable part of the unit, and is sandwiched between the solar panel and cotton armband.
I am accepting orders from outside the US. If you would please donate $15-20 over the reward amount, I'd very much appreciate it!
The kit has every single component of the Apollo, including the solar panel, acrylic shield, battery, wires, armband, velcro strips and straps. It's some careful super gluing away from a fully assembled Apollo.
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- (25 days)