Struggling with an umbrella that has blown inside out in the wind is enough to dampen anyone's spirit. A newly-designed umbrella based on origami, however, could make it less of a struggle. The Sa will reportedly "bounce back into shape" should it blow inside out, even in high winds.
Perhaps one day someone will reinvent the umbrella in such a perfect way as to effectively put a stop any further reinventions. Evidently that's not been the case yet, though, as in recent times we've seen the umbrella reimagined as a hands-free helmet, a vertical rain shield and an air-blasting force-field. Where these ideas make wholesale changes to the traditional brolly design, the Sa seeks only to refine it.
Created by designers Justin Nagelberg and Matthew Waldman, the Sa takes the familiar shape of the traditional umbrella, but replaces the fabric canopy with stiffer plastic in folded sections. It also does away with the traditional umbrella mechanism and skeleton that can be so easily overpowered, replacing it with another smaller inverted canopy.
To open the umbrella, the user rotates the bottom of the handle, releasing the top section of the handle via a spring-loaded mechanism. This top part of the handle is connected directly to the interior canopy, which itself opens and pushes the exterior canopy open. The canopy panels themselves contribute to the Sa's structural integrity in a way that ordinary umbrella fabric cannot.
According to the designers, the Sa uses planar tension to produce its shape and structure. It is said to be lighter than a traditional umbrella, due to not using the standard metal mechanism, and more durable due to having no exposed moving parts.
Nagelberg and Waldman also claim that the Sa is safer that a traditional umbrella. The corners of the panels are blunted, meaning there's less chance of someone's eye being accidentally damaged. Replacing the internal mechanism, meanwhile, is said to have created more headroom inside the umbrella.
Amongst the Sa's other features are magnets placed along its perimeter. These hold the panels together when the umbrella is closed and wrapped around the pole. The product is also mostly recyclable due to being made primarily of plastic.
A Kickstarter campaign is underway to raise money for the production of the Sa. The campaign has already surpassed its target comfortably. At the time of writing, backers can pledge from US$89 for one Sa umbrella. Assuming the campaign and production process go to plan, deliveries are expected to begin from February or March 2015.
The video below is the Kickstarter pitch for the Sa.