Help in a handbag

Scottish Design Student, Rosanna Kilfedder has designed a solar powered handbag with a light up lining, so women can find keys and other vital but elusive items quickly in the dark.


Brunel University

Design Student, Rosanna Kilfedder, age 24 from Scotland, has designed a solar powered handbag with a light up lining, so women can find keys and other vital but elusive items in their handbags quickly in the dark. The handbag’s battery, powered by a solar cell outside the bag, also re-charges mobile phones, PDAs and other wireless devices.

The handbag, called Sun Trap, uses a solar cell to trap energy from sunlight, storing it in the bag’s internal battery. When the bag is unzipped, the lining, powered by the battery and made from an electroluminescent material similar to that found in mobile phones, lights up helping them to find items lurking at the very bottom. The lining goes dark automatically as the zip is closed or switches off after 15 seconds to conserve battery if the bag is accidentally left open.

The internal battery also acts as a portable renewable energy source and can be used to charge mobile phones, PDAs and other wireless devices whilst on the move.

Rosanna Kilfedder said: “I had the idea for Sun Trap handbag after seeing so many friends frantically searching their bags for house keys, usually on a dark doorstep. I also noticed friends using their mobile phones like torches to examine the contents of their bag, which gave me the idea of lighting up the bag.

“I was thinking about safety and usefulness and had the idea of including a portable charger for emergency situations. I’d run out of mobile phone battery on several occasions and thought this would be a good way round the problem of being stuck late at night with a dead mobile battery. The design I’ve developed is just a prototype at the moment, but I’d really like to see it on the high street – I think it would be such a help to so many women.”

Brunel Enterprise Centre (BEC), which helps students and academics develop their ideas commercially, is now helping Rosanna apply for patents to cover the zip and handbag.