X

Revolutionary Invisible Umbrella Shelters You from the Rain with Bursts of Air

A team of engineers in China is currently involved in developing something called the ‘Air Umbrella’ – a revolutionary new device that uses blasts of air to shield people from the rain. The high-tech umbrella, 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.

There is a small catch, of course – the device works only for a short while. In true Cinderella style, the ‘magic’ wears off at the stroke of the 30th minute – the umbrella stops producing air and you’ll be drenched in no time at all. So you’d probably want to use it only if you’re confident you can get out of the rain in 30 minutes or less.

air-umbrella

Well, looking past that tiny flaw, you’d have to agree that the Air Umbrella is an ingenious invention. It does sound super-cool to be able to deflect the rain with blasts of air, creating the illusion of an invisible umbrella. The product is the brainchild of a group of graduates from Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics – they’ve set up a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds, and they’ve already collected $60,0000, exceeding their target of $10,000 with seven days to go.

air-umbrella2

“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.”

air-umbrella3

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. According to their demo video, the product will be available in three variants – a ($88), b ($98), and c($108). These are early bird prices, but once it 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 extensible handle.

air-umbrella4

 The ingenious device is suitable for two people to use under moderate to heavy rainfall. However, since raindrops are blown about 50 to 70 centimeters away by the air, passers-by who get too close to the use might end up getting soaked by the deflected downpour. The developers aren’t too bothered about this, though – they say that most people would carry their own umbrellas anyway, and if they aren’t, they’re probably already getting drenched in the rain.

 

The air umbrella does make a bit of noise, because of the incorporated motor, but that should be drained out by the sound of the rain, they say. The video also states that engineers are working on improving the appearance, handiness, and battery life of the product.

Posted in Tech        Tags: , , ,