Good Thinking

Air umbrella produces a "force field" of air to keep you dry

Air umbrella produces a "force...
A team of Chinese designers has developed the Air umbrella with the aim of making tangles of metal poles and fabric a thing of the past
A team of Chinese designers has developed the Air umbrella with the aim of making tangles of metal poles and fabric a thing of the past
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The Air umbrella uses a lithium battery to power a motor and fan, which creates a cycle of air flowing through its tip
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The Air umbrella uses a lithium battery to power a motor and fan, which creates a cycle of air flowing through its tip
A team of Chinese designers has developed the Air umbrella with the aim of making tangles of metal poles and fabric a thing of the past
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A team of Chinese designers has developed the Air umbrella with the aim of making tangles of metal poles and fabric a thing of the past
The team is developing three models, all resembling a detached shower head
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The team is developing three models, all resembling a detached shower head
The Air umbrella uses a lithium battery to power a motor and fan, which creates a cycle of air flowing through its tip
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The Air umbrella uses a lithium battery to power a motor and fan, which creates a cycle of air flowing through its tip
A team of Chinese designers has developed the Air umbrella with the aim of making tangles of metal poles and fabric a thing of the past
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A team of Chinese designers has developed the Air umbrella with the aim of making tangles of metal poles and fabric a thing of the past

People certainly haven't been afraid to try and reinvent the umbrella over the years. There was the solar-powered Booster Brolly, the windproof Rainshader and the lopsided Rain Shield, just to name a few. But now a team of Chinese designers is looking to do away with the awkward metal poles and canopy entirely, relying instead on a "force field" of air to keep you nice and dry.

The idea of using air flow to shield users from pelting rain has been explored before. A pair of designers developed a similar concept back in 2010, though this version seemingly never made it to market.

The latest take on the Air umbrella uses a lithium battery to power a motor and fan, which creates a cycle of air flowing through its tip to deflect the drops and form the protective layer. So how much protection are we talking about exactly? Well, the designers say at the current stage of development the umbrella will provide enough shelter for two people, though if the rain isn't too heavy more people can be squeezed underneath.

The team is working on three models, all resembling something of a detached shower head. 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.

With these battery times you wouldn't want to be stranded in a rainstorm, but they might just be enough to get you home from the bus stop without becoming a cold, shivering mess.

The team is looking to raise US$10,000 on Kickstarter for the production of its Air umbrella and looks to be having reasonable success to date. At the time of writing it has attracted almost $12,000 in pledges with 10 days to run on the campaign. Most of the early bird pledges are already gone, with $108 the minimum pledge to reserve the shorter "female" version of the umbrella. Deliveries are slated to commence from December 2015 if all goes to plan.

You can see a demonstration of the Air umbrella in the following pitch video.

Source: Kickstarter

39 comments
Khoop
I'm already angry at the first guy I see with a 100db fan that blows water at everyone around him.
SidJ
I do not think that we need more devices that require batteries - especially when there is an existing solution. What's wrong with a simple umbrella? No batteries needed and it does the job perfectly. Just carry a mini umbrella or a rain poncho in your purse/backpack/bag and you'll be saved from being a "cold, shivering mess." And you can drop an umbrella on the ground without causing damage. I doubt you could do the same with this device.
Darin Selby
Lol! :-D
Martin Winlow
Sorry guys! I can think of some very good ways of using this idea. Sadly, an umbrella, for use anywhere else than in the middle of no-where - on your own, is not one of them! MW
Pedro Coimbra E Costa
Actually I think this might be a great idea for motorcycle riders. If you can get an air flow strong enough to both counteract the force of the rain plus me moving on a motorbike, keeping me dry during those wet winter months then count me in. Besides in this application I wouldn't have to care about the 30min battery.... just connect it to the bike.
Brian M
Won't sell well in Britain - 30mins protection, wouldn't be any good on a summers day here!
Mel Tisdale
It might be a selling feature if built into an electric bike. But other than that, it should have come before the umbrella and the article have been about a new non-electric device that opens up and keeps the rain off. We'd all be queuing up to buy one,
Dirk Scott
Jaguar cars tried airflow to deflect rain instead of windscreen wipers. They abandoned the idea. The umbrella is a ubiquitous technology because it is simple, cheap enough to be almost disposable and needs no charging or batteries. A product which replaces these fundamental advantages with inferior features and higher cost is restricted to novelty status. This product will just join all the other junk-you-dont-need stuff at the back of the drawer, probably sporting the logo of the company who gave it away as a promotional gift. There is, however a niche market for this in Scotland where the tiny but voracious Highland Midge is an absolute pain. If this baby blows them away I'll order one to hold over my head and another for under my kilt. (the traditional method is to hold a lighted cigarette under one's kilt, but that has health risks which extend beyond those usually associated with cigarettes)T
Vincent Bevort
Noisy, heavy and short lived (battery) Where I live we tend to have rain all day long 15 minutes is just not enough Ventilators are always noisy and 500 gr is way to heavy to hold up even for only 15 minutes to be comfortable Another trash design
Mel Tisdale
@ Dirk Scott Excellent point. I have never worn a kilt, so bow to your superior knowledge on the perils of wearing one (I imagine the scars generate some interesting questions). However, I have been to Scotland's Highlands and Islands. Despite their beauty, I vowed never to return because of those damn midges. If this device does what you hope and I can buy one, I could be tempted to risk another visit.