If all goes well, a Kickstarter project will change the way we get shaded in the rain. And it’s super cool too.
A company in Nanjing, China recently developed a new umbrella that does away with the conventional physical canvas. In place is a personalised ‘force field’ formed out of forced air to create a canopy that keeps rain out of your head. It resembles a giant microphone or flashlight — the head is installed with a motor and fan that forces air up and out to create a shield. The shaft is integrated with a rechargeable lithium ion battery, complete with on/off switch at its base. There is dial to control the size of the air canopy, and the company claims it can expand over a meter in diameter, enough room for two. How romantic.
The device has been tested in heavy rainfall scenarios and so far been able to meet requirements. One of the unexpected effects is the sound of rain drowns out the sound of the air motor. The air shield pushes water droplets about 70cm away from the user. Just like a conventional umbrella, it can be held diagonally should the rain’s path not fall in a straight angle. However, extremely heavy wind can slice through the shield although the manufacturer quickly countered that even normal umbrellas won’t fare that well in that scenario either.
There are three models available – Model A is for females, which is 30cm in length and weighs around 500 grams. It has a battery life of 15 minutes and it is not scalable. Model B is the general version, 30cm in length and 800g in weight, and delivers 30 minutes of operational life. Finally Model C is the scalable version of the Model B with slightly heavier weight of around 850g. The pricing is determined to be around USD88 (MYR298) for Model A, USD98 (MYR321) for Model B and USD108 (MYR354) for Model C.
Customers can expect delivery as early as this December.