LONDON, England (Reuters) — Twin brothers Steve and Nick Tidball have created a solar-powered glow-in-the-dark, waterproof jacket that they hope will allow late-night runners and cyclists to safely exercise for up to twelve hours in the pitch black.
The pair’s start-up Vollebak has already enjoyed success with previous innovative tech clothing, including the 100 Year Hoodie made from Kevlar.
The Solar Charged Jacket contains an ultra-thin layer of a phosphorescent compound which absorbs and stores light.
When nightfall comes, if the wearer finds themselves in a dark environment, it will emit a green glow over its entire surface.
“You can use any light source to charge it. The stronger the light source, and the longer you expose it to it, the longer it’s going to glow for,” Steve Tidball told Reuters.
“If you left it in the sun in broad daylight for a couple of hours it will glow for 12 hours. If you take out your iPhone torch and you put a little spot on it for two seconds it’s going to glow for another few minutes. If you have access to a 12,000 watt flash, like in a camera studio you’re going to glow like you’re part of a Superman movie.”
The phosphorescent compound is situated at the fabric’s centre, so it won’t wash out or rub off.
“We wanted to combine technology that glows at night with something you can actually do sport in,” said Steve Tidball.
“The reason this technology is new is because the stuff that glows is inside the jacket. That’s why it’s so important not to put the glow in the dark technology on the jacket surface, but actually embed it inside because then you can do sport, you can still sweat, and rain can’t get in.”
He said on a full charge “you’re going to glow green for at least half an hour.”
“Then what happens is the jacket gradually changes color. It goes down to a sort of silvery, grey-green. Eventually you’re left with this sort of ghostly white halo and that’s when you know your jacket needs charging again,” he added.
The jacket, which weighs just 230 grams, is light grey in color during daylight.
Nick Tidball says the jacket’s glow-in-the-dark function isn’t its only selling point.
“Probably one of the best things, beyond the fact it glows at night, is the fact that it’s incredibly stretchy. That is going to be one of the things you’re going to see in the future of sports clothing,” he said.
The jacket can only be bought direct from the company website vollebak.com for $350 USD.