Solar from a Superhero
Zimmer Barnes is a superhero, as well as a journalist, inventor and activist. His superhero alter ego doesn't include a mask or a made up name (he goes by "Zimmer"), but he is part of the New York Initiative, a crime prevention team based in Brooklyn, featured in the upcoming HBO documentary Superheroes. His activities are rarely glamorous: He cleans up parks, serves homeless populations, removes graffiti, and tracks crime statistics.As a result, he's on the move a lot, and got tired of finding his phone battery dead, especially when he wanted to consult a relevant app for information. So now he travels around town with his latest invention strapped to his arm: the Apollo armband solar generator.
Barnes first put together the solar generator to spruce up a cast on his arm (after he was hit by a car), and got great reviews while visiting Comic Con in New York. He dubbed it the Apollo and set about improving it.
The third, final generation can stand up to rain (though it's not fully water proof), weighs less than a pound, measures 5.31" by 4.41", and can charge its battery in seven hours in full sunshine. The Apollo comes as an easy to assemble kit- all the buyer has to do is glue the acrylic shield and Velcro straps on.
Get Your Own
To bring the device to market, Barnes has launched a Kickstarter campaign, aiming to raise $3,200 (as of Monday evening, he's at $2,233). For a $128 pledge, you get your own Apollo (including shipping and handling); go up to $168 and Barnes will send it to you fully assembled.
While Barnes' superhero activities may seem silly, this whole project makes perfect sense, and is echoed by technology the Marines have recently adopted. My one criticism of the Apollo is that it's too big to be discreet. But hey, once you publicly refer to yourself as a superhero, discretion is probably not your biggest concern.