The Haz is designed to open, extend and close with the push of a button using a built-in motor, a microchip controller and a li-ion battery. The whole opening and closing process is said to take two seconds.
The creators say this is easier than opening or closing an umbrella manually, especially for people who are carrying multiple objects. Whether that stacks up is hard to say without one in hand, but replacing a manual opening mechanism with motorized parts does seem to be asking for trouble when it comes to reliability. But there is back-up plan – should the umbrella jam or the batteries run flat it can still be operated manually.
To stop you from losing it, the Haz connects to an accompanying iOS or Android app via Bluetooth Low Energy, with a range of around 30 m (100 ft). If the umbrella moves out of the smartphone's range, a notification is sent to the user with the umbrella's last known location.
The app also provides users with location-based weather forecasts, advising on whether or not the umbrella will be required if they go out. Obviously, this will tip you off about expected rain showers, but also about high UV levels.
Haz Digital says the umbrella will open and close over 150 times on a single battery charge and standby time is about six months. A replaceable coin cell battery is used for the Bluetooth component and will last for about a year.
An Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign is underway for the Haz umbrella. Pledges start at US$69 with shipping is expected from October this year.
The Indiegogo pitch video for the Haz Umbrella is below.
Source: Haz Umbrella
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