Boffins in Japan have invented the perfect eco-friendly girl gadget: the solar-powered bra.

The bra comes with a detachable solar panel, worn around the stomach, which can generate enough electricity to power an iPod or mobile, the makers claim.

"It is very comfortable and I can really feel involved in eco-friendly efforts as well," model Yuko Ishida said.

The Photovoltaic-Powered Bra is made by Triumph International Japan, a firm that is famous for its eco-chic innovations. These include a bra than can be turned into a re-usable shopping bag and a bra designed to encourage the use of re-usable chopsticks.

Besides charging up your gadgets these solar-powered smalls also have plastic pouches that can be filled with water (or a Bacardi Breezer), allowing sun-bathers to quench their thirst while leaving both hands free for knitting, nail-filing or the writing of shopping lists.

The bra is made of high-quality organic cotton. Unfortunately, it’s easily damaged by rain - so it would be of no use in England, particularly between June and August.

There's another problem: no outer garments can be worn, because the solar panels need to be exposed to direct sunlight.

"People usually cannot go outside without wearing clothes over it," said Yoshiko Masuda of Triumph. The idea of women walking around in bras all day is, of course, terrible.

It seems likely that use of the Photovoltaic Bra will be confined to the beach or garden, or the front row of outdoor Bruce Springsteen concerts.

The solar-powered bra is still at the 'concept' stage, but bra research simply cannot be rushed. It may involve many, many years of intense study. So, it seems, they may not be popping up any time soon.

Via The Telegraph