Swimwear has come a long way since its mere itty bitty bikini days — new styles often have enough Lycra and slimming technology to give the wearer a whole new body. Even so, current fashion designers are about to encounter a totally different kind of competition: Andrew Schneider, a multimedia designer, is bringing the art of swimwear into a new era.
His bathing suit combines design with electronic engineering: thanks to 40 thin and flexible photovoltaic strips connected by conductive thread, his bikini can generate enough energy to charge your iPod or iPhone in the same amount of time your laptop could. The bikini, which also contains a USB port for easy plugging in, can still be used for swimming (though not while charging, and it must be completely dry before using as a charger).
The form-meets-function aspect of the bikini gives us pause, though we’re a tad skeptical about the safety of having a few pieces of fabric between us and bolts of energy. Curious consumers can order a custom-made solar bikini on Solar Coterie for $500 – $1500, according to Gizmag.
And the designer’s expanding to men’s swimwear: a pair of swim trunks, called the iDrink, is in the works and should be able to chill a small cooler (filled with beer, naturally). Would you ever don such a futuristic swimsuit? Or do you prefer your clothes to function, well, only as clothes?