NANJING, China — A new product may eliminate the stress of having umbrellas rendered useless by strong gusts of wind.
The Air Umbrella, designed by students from the Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics in China, uses pressurized air to keep rain droplets away instead of a waterproof cover. A battery-powered fan blade redirects air so it pushes rain out of the path of the device's user, according to the Kickstarter page.
The alternative to the traditional umbrella looks like a single rod with a bulb on top, and can be pre-ordered through a Kickstarter campaign. So far it has raised more than $86,000, exceeding its original $10,000 goal. The campaign ends Friday.
However, the umbrella is only useful for short trips at this point in its development. The battery life lasts between 15 and 30 minutes depending on the model, according to the Kickstarter page.
While the idea is novel, the inventors behind the Kickstarter campaign say they are still working on perfecting the product. Those who want try the air umbrella before it hits the market can choose from three options available for preorder through the Kickstarter campaign: a miniature "umbrella-a" designed for women to put in their purses, the basic "umbrella-b" and an "umbrella-c" that can have its length adjusted. The umbrellas cost between $88 and $148 dollars.
The Air Umbrellas will be shipped by December 2015, according to the Kickstarter page.