Nice Try, Air Umbrella


Courtesy of Kickstarter.Com

Rachel Seo, Photojournalist

It’s a new sensation that’s been featured on the websites of USA Today and the Huffington Post. It’s an invention that has created waves through its Kickstarter campaign, amazing skeptics by raising eight times more than its targeted amount of $10,000. It’s been both ridiculed and praised, scoffed at and sensationalized.


“It” is called the Air Umbrella.


Created by students from the Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Air Umbrella uses a small fan to control airflow and repel rain off its user.


Currently, there are three sizes: A, which is 30 cm long and weighs 500 grams and has fifteen minutes of battery life; B, which is 50 cm long, with a weight of 800 grams and a battery life of thirty minutes; and C, which weighs 850 grams, can extend to 80 centimeters, and has a battery life of 30 minutes.


With the Air Umbrella, there would be no more inside-out issues or dripping fabric. It also would not take up as much space as a regular umbrella does.


Unfortunately, this invention is not without its faults. Because its fan is powered by a battery, the Air Umbrella would need to be charged after its maximum time is reached. Currently, that time is thirty minutes which, compared to the maximum time limit of a regular umbrella (several years), is quite short and could limit the audience to city or suburban residents. However, because of its unique design, the umbrella would whisk the rain at passersby, which could be a problem if the user lived in a place with a lot of people in close proximity.


Also, do humans need more things to charge? Would the classic umbrella stands be replaced by Air Umbrella charging stations? Is this the future–relying on electricity to power everything?


Caitlin Hui (10) shares this sentiment, saying that “it’s not good, because you’d be getting water into other people’s faces.”


While it is an ingenious idea and possible in the future, the concept of the Air Umbrella needs to be developed more before it can be used effectively and efficiently in society today.