A smartphone is pretty much useless with a dead battery. When you're out and about, it can be hard to find a place to plug in (if you remembered your charger, that is). But this DIY solar panel backpack made by electrical engineer Theodore Protasiewicz will help you use the scorching sun to your advantage and make sure that your gadgets are always ready to go.
Theodore started with just a normal backpack, some solar panels, 18 gauge wire, and a USB port and hacked it into a traveling solar charger that even works while it's idle at night. It's great for students and hikers!
If you're interested in making one for yourself, Theodore has more details on how he did it and where you can buy the parts over on his blog.
Don't carry a backpack? You can also make a cheap solar powered USB charger at home with some old garden lights or an Altoids tin. We've also seen solar power added to a Pringles can, a playing card, and a plastic bottle toy car.
What are some of your ideas?