Vodafone, European mobile phone network operator have given the world a glimpse inside their R&D labs, revealing a high-tech multi-purpose inspector gadget umbrella.
Not only is the umbrella a signal booster for your Vodafone mobile but it will also charge your phone using the integrated solar cells and battery. But wait there’s more, it can also guide the way around the midnight munchies run at the festival with an integrated torch and it will even keep you dry in an English summer storm, being an umbrella.
The booster brolly was on display at this years Isle of Man TT. While it may still in testing at the R&D labs of Vodafone, as long as Inspector Gadget doesn’t kill anyone with it a retail version will be released in time for the European summer festival season, it is currently only a PR tool. Don’t be surprised to see the Vodafone Umbrella in the background of the Olympics.
Designed by Kenneth Tong of the University College London, the umbrella combines aluminum spines to create a high gain antenna that catches the signal from the Vodafone transmitter / tower, a signal repeater then disperses a low intensity signal to the local area. Anyone standing near the umbrella with a Vodafone mobile will receive a boost.
Solar cells integrated into the fabric of the umbrella charge a small storage battery, a USB connection is provided to allow mobile phones and other devices to recharge off the umbrellas battery. The battery also runs the torch for those midnight runs.
“The Vodafone Booster Brolly uses a clever combination of high gain antenna and low power signal repeater to catch radio waves from a Vodafone transmitter, before dispersing a very low intensity signal, creating a small ‘signal shower’, just above users’ heads,” Vodafone said when speaking to the Inquirer.
After taking a vote the Highpants office was split between the umbrella being ridiculous, while the remaining votes went fort sort of cool. We do wonder though, what other gems Vodafone have tucked away in their labs, non-transparent windows, hats with Wi-Fi perhaps?