Invisible umbrella creates shield of wind, soaks innocent bystanders

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Aug 5, 2013
News By James Plafke Oct. 15, 2014 3:32 pm
Update 10/15:*The Air Umbrella has been funded on Kickstarter, which means that we’ll all get the chance to see if this product actually works, barring Kickstarter catastrophe.
One might say the standard umbrella is already perfectly designed — compact, resistant to all but very strong winds, and it generally keeps your top half dry. The kind of storm in which an umbrella wouldn’t do the job is the kind of storm where nothing other than staying inside would help. A new umbrella design by Je Sung Park and Woo Jung Kwon aims to not only change the umbrella’s core design, but to make it adjustable given the power of a storm.
Called the Air Umbrella, the concept removes the plastic top from the umbrella and replaces it with a wind shield. The design of the Air Umbrella calls for air to be sucked through the bottom, then shot out of the top in a pattern that mimics the standard canopy. Power and canopy size controls reside toward the bottom of the shaft, providing users with the ability to strengthen the force of the air and widen the canopy in order to adjust for heavier rains. Not only would these features protect against storms when a standard umbrella normally may not, but the air curtain has a better chance to survive strong winds than a flimsy nylon covering.*Removing the canopy also dispenses with minutes shaking all of the water off before you bring it inside.
It’s worth noting that if the umbrella is designed to shoot rain away from your head through an air pump, it would almost certainly shoot that rain onto surrounding innocent bystanders.
The Air Umbrella is also designed with a simple adjustable handle, so the user can rest their arm at whatever height they desire when holding the umbrella, an option left out of standard umbrellas.
Though still a concept and assuming the wind curtain is actually strong enough, the design has one pretty significant flaw — battery life. If a storm is particularly strong, the highest power output and widest curtain could conceivably drain the battery quickly, while a longer trek through the rain would significantly drain the battery as well. What happens when you trek through the rain , use a significant portion of the battery, then it’s still raining on the way home? It’ll be annoying to have to carry extra batteries or a charger.
Whatever the case with the power supply may be, the umbrella is still only a concept, so whatever kinks could arise are probably already being addressed. The design does seem like a great alternative to an umbrella where the plastic canopy turns inside out at the first gust of wind, we just wish the designers went with the term “Airbrella.”
via WebUrbanist

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