The Air Umbrella – it’s all about Me

November 5, 2015 | 01:29
The Air Umbrella - dont leave home without it
The Air Umbrella - dont leave home without it
One particular gadget that attracted a lot of media coverage a little while ago is the Air Umbrella. Newspaper columns have been given over to this latest wacky gadget that some boffins have dreamt up and it’s going to fundamentally change the way we view the world from now on… blah de blah.

I've got to say my first reaction was, hey neat! Then I got to thinking, how’s this going to work in a crowd situation? The battery powered design uses a curtain of air to produce a bubble of dry air around your head. It basically flings the rain, destined for your own head, horizontally into the faces of people around you. I can imagine anyone switching on Air Umbrella in a crowd of people is likely to provoke a lively exchange of views, resulting in lots of Hot Air, and if things get out of hand, a trip to the nearest hospital by Air Ambulance. And what happens when everyone’s got one? Rain from above you can deal with, but water is going to be flying in all directions!

Did anyone seriously think this was ever going to be a good idea? Judging by the number of backers it got on Kickstarter the answer to that one is yes.

The design concept, you could argue, perfectly encapsulates our hedonistic 21st century ‘bubble’ existence. We may have a physical presence in a crowd but rarely do we interact with or are even aware of the people around us; instead we rely on invisible streams of data to and from our cloud connected smart trinkets for stimulation and to network with our world, our own personalized environment.

Don’t get me wrong I don’t think the Air Umbrella is totally without merit. Out-of-the-box thinking should be applauded but maybe the designers missed a trick here. What they should have made is an umbrella that sucks. Well, yeah, okay so you might argue they’ve done that already, but what I mean is, instead of blowing the rain sideways, why not reverse the impeller and suck the rain from around your head into a central pipe (the handle) where it drains away harmlessly to the ground? Now that would be really something, it would even get the thumbs up from everyone else waiting in the bus queue. Now, you will have to excuse me while I get a crowdfunding campaign underway…

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