Most bikinis only charge the libido, but a Downtown designer has invented a sun-powered bikini that can also charge iPods.
The Solar Bikini, made by Andrew Schneider, has USB sockets sewn into the fabric of the bottom piece. Schneider, who lives on Red Hook Lane between Fulton and Livingston streets, lined the suit with 40 paper-thin panels called photovoltaic cells. The panels convert the sun’s radiation into electricity that can power gadgets as quickly as a laptop.
In addition to iPods and untrendy MP3 players, the sizzling suit can charge digital cameras and cellphones.
Don’t worry about getting shocked, as Schneider insists that suit is safe to swim in because it only outputs five volts of electricity. That’s pretty miniscule when compared to something deadly like a lightning bolt, which can contain hundreds of millions of volts.
“It’s just fine to take in the water because there’s no energy stored by the suit and the electrical output is small,” Schneider said.
“But you have to make sure you dry off completely before plugging in again or the suit won’t function properly.”
But it’s not that easy (or cheap) to get your hands on this two-piece technological feat. Schneider does not have a manufacturer, so he makes each bikini by hand, to order. It takes him three days to make one swimsuit, which he sells for $1,000.
“Right now our operation is very small and each suit is [made] individually,” Schneider said.
But Brooklynites who frequent Coney Island and pools like the Double-D say that they hope the Solar Bikini comes to the masses at an affordable price.
“It’s a good idea because I need my cellphone all the time,” said Williamsburg resident Elicia Banks-Gabriel.
And girls won’t have all the fun, as Schneider is working on solar-powered bathing trunks for dudes called the iDrink. These baggy trunks will have more conductive panels than the skimpy solar bikini, so they’ll be equipped with a beer-cooling pocket.
“I can’t wait to be able to model one myself,” Schneider said.
Pictures of buxom women wearing Schneider’s eco-friendly bikini have been seen all over the world, but for Brooklynites, there’s nothing new about internationally hailed innovation. The borough is, after all, home to world-class innovators, including a Bay Ridge resident who invented a breast-feeding blouse and a Kingsborough Community College professor who discovered a new mineral.
Schneider, who studied communications technologies at New York University, has a few inventions that combine multi-media and apparel. He also created the Perform-o-shoes, which are embedded with sensors and connect to a stereo. Performers can control the tempo of music by dancing around in the shoes.
To order, visit www.andrewjs.com/solarbikini.html.