Published on Tuesday, 21 October 2014 00:00
A team of engineers in China is currently developing a revolutionary umbrella that will change all umbrellas forever called the “Air Umbrella”. The state-of-the-art invention uses blasts of air streams to shield people. The ingenious new device shaped like a plastic microphone is capable of producing horizontal gusts of air that repel raindrops, creating a dry, one-meter wide circle around the user's head. Say goodbye to having to deal with dripping rainwater all over the floors indoors with a wet umbrella!
There is a catch of course. The futuristic umbrella is not able to provide gusts of air indefinitely. Depending on which Air Umbrella you get, the battery wears off within 15 - 30 minutes of usage and you'll be drenched if you do not find other forms of shelter by then. So you would probably only want to get it if you are confident you can get out of the rain in 30 minutes or less, and recharge it at any power point socket.
You have to admit that the Air Umbrella is pretty cool despite its short battery life. It takes a team of geniuses from Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics to come up with such a brilliant yet simple invention using the advantages of air.
“Air is everywhere on the earth. The flowing air can change the moving path of the object. The faster the air moves, the greater the energy is,” the engineers explained on the Kickstarter page. “The jet airflow can isolate some objects. So when we make use of the airflow, we can protect ourselves from the rain drops. Then the airflow forms an umbrella without a visible cover.”
The Kickstarter campaign
has amassed a funding of more than $85,000, far exceeding their target of $10,000 with only 3 more days to go. Early bird funding to receive the Air Umbrella at a discounted price have all long been snapped up, but there are still other options available for you to get your hands on this revolutionary umbrella starting at $118 onwards.
The Air Umbrella consists of three ‘sections’ – a motor near the head, a lithium battery at the center, and an controller with a switch at the bottom. Once the Air Umbrella hits the market, the average price of an air umbrella is expected to be about $200+. Air Umbrella-a is compact in design and can only operate for 15 minutes before running out of charge, while b and c can last for 30 minutes each, with the latter featuring an extendable handle.
The umbrella is suitable for a maximum of two people to use under a moderate to heavy rainfall. However, since raindrops are being blown about 50 to 70 centimeters away by the gusts of air, passers-by who get too close to anyone using an Air Umbrella might end up getting splashed with the deflected rain. The developers are not too concerned about this factor though, they say that most people who carry their own umbrellas would be able to fend off the splash, and if they aren't then they are probably already getting drenched in the rain anyway and the Air Umbrella's deflected water won't make any difference.
Because of the incorporated motor, the Air Umbrella does give off a bit of a whirring noise, but that should be drowned out by the sound of the rain. The video also states that the engineers are working on improving the appearance, handiness and battery life of the product. A friendly note; if you order the Air Umbrella now via Kickstarter, the estimated delivery will only be in December 2014.
Check out the video below to find out more about the Air Umbrella.