Some say, umbrellas are heavy to carry around with you all day. They could turn inside-out in the wind and cause a kind of danger to people’s eyes, especially while you’re walking in a crowd.
A team of designers in China have cooperated with intelligent postgraduate students from Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics to create an air-powered umbrella that creates a force-field around you when it rains, in order to shield you from the water.
Once you have arrived at your destination, you can place the air-powered umbrella in your bag until you’re ready to go out again.
The new umbrella is currently still in the research stages. Until now, it’s attracted over $20,000 worth of funding on Kickstarter (more than doubling the goal of $10,000).
The team has been working on the concept of finding a new type of umbrella that does its job without the usual spiky, flimsy metal poles. Actually, the new and innovative, umbrella doesn’t even need a canopy. Instead, it keeps the water away by creating a ‘force field’ of air that moves around you.
The air-powered umbrella looks like a large flashlight, it’s also has a handle similar to that of a regular one, except it’s provided with a lithium battery in order to power the fan, which located in the head of the umbrella and supported with a special motor.
The lithium battery is rechargeable; it’s placed inside the umbrella’s shaft. At the base, there is a simple button that turns it on and off.
This long and thin device is also provided with a controller dial that can twist to change the size of the air emitted. It can be expanded to over 3ft 4in (one metre) in diameter, making enough space for two people to be able to stay dry comfortably.
Although the company doesn’t comment on how the device will act in windy conditions, it has been tested in heavy rainfall conditions and seems to perform quite well.
The team said that the generated air pushes water droplets up to 70 centimeters (27.5 inches) away, which practically means the battery has to be provided with enough power in order to run the ultra high speed fan.
According to Gizmag.com, the team is working on three models now, dubbed A, B, and C. Nick Lavars at Gizmag reported:
“The first claims to be designed for females and is 30 cm (1 ft) in length and 500 g (1.1 lb) with a battery life of 15 minutes. The second is 50 cm (1.64 ft) long, weighs 800 g (1.76 lb) and has a 30 minute battery life. The third is extendable, ranging from 50 cm (1.64 ft) to 80 cm (2.62 ft), weighing 850 g (1.87 lb), also with a 30 minute battery life.”
Despite the fact that the battery life is fairly short (ranging from only 15 to 30 minutes), the team is looking forward to improve the design during the coming months, depending on the money that is raised from the Kickstarter campaign.
On their page the team notes that the production will begin in September 2015, but the revolutionary umbrella won’t be available until late next year. Kickstarter backers are expected to get their Air Umbrellas before December 31, 2015.
(1) You can stand under my AIR-brella (Video)
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