When the rain is pouring down like someone emptied a bucket up there, there’s nothing you want more than to take cover. But apparently, an umbrella isn’t cool enough. I mean, you can’t look up or go out in the wind…and stuff. So some folks from China have designed the Air Umbrella — a rain shield that simply blows the incoming droplets away from your head.
The idea may be slightly crazy, but the folks behind the Air Umbrella have worked with students at the University of Beijing, so they are definitely committed to making it work. The prototype works by jetting out air laterally by way of a rotating fan inside the top of the handle, and it is surprisingly quiet. Along with a motor to propel that fan, the Air Umbrella contains a hefty lithium battery, which can power the current version of the rain shield for 30 minutes at a time. In other words, you need to make your dash around town quick if you don’t want to get wet.
There are currently three models of the Air Umbrella in the works, starting at under $100, with each offering various levels of compactness, canopy size and battery life. The plan is to improve the specs of all three models before the first units ship in Q4 2015. I’m still not sure that will be enough to make standard umbrellas nervous, but this is certainly a fun gadget, and a clever piece of engineering.
For more info or to support the Air Umbrella, check out the Kickstarter page.