An ‘invisible umbrella’ that uses a jet of air to deflect raindrops has surpassed its fundraising goal of US$10,000 to reach US$30,493 on crowdfunding site Kickstarter, with nine days remaining in the campaign.
The Air Umbrella consists of a motor, lithium battery, controller and master switch in a white casing.
Air Umbrella is also the name of the company behind the gadget, which has been designed in various versions with post-graduates from Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics in Nanjing, China, between July 2012 to August 2013.
Naturally, the team also tested the creation in rainy conditions and found that the umbrella works best in heavy rains but not so much in light rains or when there is wind strong enough to turn a traditional umbrella inside out.
In terms of noise, the team says on its Kickstarter page that the sound of the rain is louder than the sound of the umbrella in use.
The air umbrella-b. Image via Air Umbrella’s Kickstarter page
The types of Air Umbrella
The team has also worked on three types of Air Umbrella. There’s the air umbrella-b (basic style), air umbrella-a (for females) and a scalable air umbrella-c.
Air umbrella-b is 50 centimeters long, weighs 800 grams, and has a battery life of about 30 minutes.
Air umbrella-a measures 30 centimeters in length and weighs 500 grams. Its batter runs about 15 minutes.
Air umbrella-c also has a battery life of about half an hour, but it can be extended to 80 centimetres from 50 centimetres. This version weighs about 850 grams.
From now until July 2015, the team will be working on improving the umbrellas’ function and appearance, with the first products to roll out of the factory in September 2015.
The umbrella’s Kickstarter supporters can expect to receive their device by next December.
Don’t miss our Innovation Ireland Forum on 24 October in the Guinness Storehouse, Dublin