Solar Helmet Turns Skiers Into Mini Power Plants

When you think about it, the Fraunhofer Institute's new prototype solar powered ski helmet makes a lot of sense. Because when you're skiing, you're usually high up on a mountain, as close to the sun as you're ever going to get.

And the closer you are to the sun, the more potent its rays get.

But Fraunhofer's ski helmet is actually a testbed for a new communications module they've developed. Its electronics and battery are all integrated into the solar panel you see on top of the helmet, which can be manufactured to fit the curves and contours of any product.

The new solar panels are also extra durable, so if you happen to wipe out on a run and put your helmet to good use, they won't be destroyed in the process.

At the moment the helmet pictured is a working prototype that's being used for cold-weather testing to see just how efficient the new solar cells are. But working with a German company called TEXSYS, the Fraunhofer Institute intends to refine its design as they move towards a commercial product that should be available before the year's out for around $400. [Fraunhofer IZM via Treehugger]