A wide shot of a ceramics studio, featuring students working with pottery wheels and other tools.

Alum’s Solar Fabric Research Shines a New Light on Wearable Electronics

Alum Marianne Fairbanks (MFA 2001) has been working with solar-charged objects for many years and is now using her experience to take wearable electronics to the next level. Fairbanks partnered with Trisha Andrew, an assistant professor of organic chemistry at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst, to create solar textiles and triboelectric fabric, which translates mechanical motion into power.

Through their research and designs, the technology can be used for hundreds of applications, including umbrellas, refugee shelters, gloves, and athletic gear. The duo are currently working with several companies that are interested in incorporating these ideas into future products, including the Air Force and Patagonia. Read more about their work in Smithsonian Magazine.