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By Jasmine Crittenden
October 14, 2014
By Jasmine Crittenden
October 14, 2014

If Harry Potter and Singing in the Rain were mashed up, this gadget would be the key prop. It might look like a magic wand, but it acts like an umbrella. By sucking in air at one end and pushing it out at the other, the motorised head creates a jet airflow, pushing raindrops away from you. Hence, you’re kept dry, without the inconvenience of carrying around a soggy piece of fabric that will invariably whack your fellow pedestrians in the face.

Created by Nanjing-based inventor Chuan Wang, the air umbrella is currently funding on Kickstarter. It began life as a prototype back in November 2012. Wang then spent time working with PhD graduates from the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics to reduce the size, while maintaining an effective level of airflow. A controller at the base of the handle enables the user to manipulate the umbrella’s force, to meet the rain’s intensity.

With ten days to go, the Kickstarter campaign has exceeded its target goal, thanks to 97 backers pledging to the tune of $10,283. Three sizes are available, the ‘A’, which is selling for $88; the ‘B’, priced at $98; and the ‘C’ at $108. The smallest measures 30 centimetres and weighs in at 500 grams, while the largest is extendable, to a length of 80 centimetres, and weighs 850 grams.

The invention has some weaknesses. For one, it looks dodgy as. Dyson should really put this sleeker concept into production. Two, it eats battery life faster than Facebook for iPhone. Despite the significant size of the rechargeable lithium pack, umbrella ‘A’ offers only 15 minutes of protection at a time, while ‘C’ provides 30 minutes.


Published on October 14, 2014 by Jasmine Crittenden


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