A solar-powered jacket designed to keep people seen when out in the dark can glow “like kryptonite” for 12 hours.
The Solar Charged Jacket from Vollebak is actually a light grey colour until it gets dark and then it shines brightly after only a short charge.
Vollebak co-founder Nick Tidball said: “The jacket combines the kind of futuristically responsive material you’d expect to see in an MIT lab, with the technical performance that you need from a jacket whether you’re running home from work in the dark or running an ultra marathon in the mountains.
“It’s lightweight, 100% waterproof and breathable, and stretchy – and when it’s dark, it glows like kryptonite.”
The jacket is at its best when charged by daylight: a couple of hours outside and it will glow for 12 hours once it gets dark. Even on a cloudy day, or just left near a window, the jacket will still receive the necessary charge.
But it can also be powered by any light source available, a headlight of a car, a mobile phone torch, even indoor lighting.
Light can also be directed across the clothing to make certain parts of the jacket glow more brightly.
The core technology that allows the jacket to glow is its membrane – an ultra thin layer housed inside a translucent mesh that keeps rain out and lets sweat escape.
Key to its glowing ability is the membrane’s phosphorescent compound which rapidly stores any light it comes into contact with and re-emits it slowly over time.
A spokesman for Vollebak said: “The membrane acts as if it’s alive, absorbing sunlight like a plant and then lighting up as day turns to night. And with the phosphorescence engineered into the membrane itself, the tech sits at the very centre of the fabric, so it can’t wash out or rub off.”
Vollebak was co-founded in 2015 by Tidball and his twin brother and fellow adventure athlete Steve Tidball.
Steve said: “Our aim is to make the future of sports clothing and one of the areas we’re really interested in is how clothes can respond to the environment you’re in. With the Solar Charged Jacket, we wanted to create something that would help you feel safe and superhuman when you’re out at night.”