Vodafone Unveils Umbrella That Charges And Boosts Signals Of Mobile Phones
14 Jun 2012
British mobile phone giant Vodafone has unveiled a prototype umbrella that—not only keeps you dry in the event of a downpour, and shaded when it’s sunny, but also—charges and boosts the signal strength of phones.Called ‘Voda Booster Brolly’, the eco-friendly umbrella—developed by Dr Kenneth Tong, lecturer at University College London—is a golf umbrella fitted with solar panels on its canopy, an in-built antenna, and a USB port on its handle.
The unique umbrella’s custom canopy is hand-sewn with 12 two-volt solar panels that generate current using the power of the sun.
The generated power can either be stored in rechargeable batteries, or used directly to charge a mobile device through the USB port.
The high-gain antenna, fitted into the spike on top of the umbrella, catches radio waves from Vodafone transmitter and disperses them at a very-low intensity signal to create a small ‘signal shower’, according to Vodafone. This helps Vodafone customers near the umbrella get better 3G signal.
It also features a hands-free cellphone cradle so that users wouldn’t have to hold the phone and the umbrella as the phone charges, and an LED torch for night-time navigation.
And making it sound too good to be true, Voda Booster Brolly only weighs about 800g.
“We’ve put in all of this technology, but it’s not heavy, it’s not big—and it looks good,” Tong said in a statement. “In fact, it’s a bit of a ‘James Bond’ umbrella—you can’t tell what it does from the outside.”
All that’s left is for Vodafone to mass-produce this product.