U.K. cell phone company Orange takes festival tent envy to new heights with its Solar Concept Tent, designed to celebrate the eleventh year of Orange’s presence at the Glastonbury music festival.
The concept tent, created with U.S. product design consultancy Kaleidoscope and based on the original Orange Solar Tent from Glastonbury’s 2003 festival, consists of “specially coated solar threads” weaved into the tent fabric. The photovoltaic threads power a central wireless control hub in the tent that displays energy consumed on an LCD screen and provides a wireless internet signal. The hub also controls a heating element embedded below the tent’s groundsheet that is triggered when interior temperatures fall below a certain level.
The tent can charge gadgets, too. A wireless charging pouch uses magnetic induction to pass an electric current through a coil embedded in the pouch. This generates a magnetic field to create a charge and power portable electronics.
Orange knows that it can get difficult to find things at night in crowded music festivals, so its tent is outfitted with so-called “glo-cation” technology that enables the owner’s cell phone to identify it with a text message or RFID technology. Both methods signal the tent to emit a distinctive glow.
These all sound like wonderfully futuristic innovations, but wouldn’t someone steal this mysteriously glowing tent if they saw it in a festival’s tent village? And wouldn’t the presence of an LCD screen and internal heating element make the tent too heavy to carry on long hikes? Not to mention the fact that the tent would give most camping purists a heart attack. Regardless, Orange’s tent won’t be on sale any time soon–photovoltaic fabric has never actually been used.