Ever since the umbrella first showed up, it has had the same basic appearance. A stick to hold it, and a cloth or some other material up top to stop the rain. All that is about to change if the Air Umbrella goes through. In essence, it is still the same principle, as in you hold a stick, and stay under a surface that protects you from the rain. Except, here the protecting surface would be air, not the usual fabric that we are used to.
Air Umbrella is a torch-like stick, powered by a battery with a fan on top. Once you turn on the battery, the fan throws out air at a high speed, which ends up knocking water droplets out of the way. The developers of the umbrella worked with postgraduates at the Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and then with PhD graduates from the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics to improve the design, until a functional system was finally developed.
Honestly, we think it’s too fantastic an idea, and might not work that well in a real world situation. Designers of the umbrella are well aware of the situation as well, and they say that the umbrella would work for one person, in a light rain. It wouldn’t work quite well in heavy rain, but then no umbrella really does work when it is pouring. Three versions of the umbrella are on offer; the first version measures about 30 centimeters, weighs 500 grams, and has a battery that lasts for 15 minutes. The other two versions are 50 and 80 centimeters in length, weighing 800 grams and 850 grams respectively. Both of these have the battery last for 30 minutes.
Air Umbrella project is currently on Kickstarter, where it has already surpassed its goal. The developers say they intend to make more improvements to the design before it starts shipping in December next year, failing which, they will refund money before the end of January, 2016.