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Rain Shield – a new take on the humble umbrella

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November 15, 2012

Rain Shield is a concept for a new type of umbrella, created to remedy several of the prob...

Rain Shield is a concept for a new type of umbrella, created to remedy several of the problems associated with the traditional design

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The core design of the humble umbrella hasn't changed in centuries. The main reason for this being that the umbrella, as humble as it may be, works extremely well. Until someone designs a new version of the umbrella that actually offers some real advantages over its forebears, people are going to continue to use those already on the market. However, very few people would consider the umbrella to be perfect, which presents creative and inventive designers with several problems in need of solutions. Rain Shield solves several of these problems in one innovative hit.

Rain Shield is an umbrella that has been given an extension to one side. Rather than existing as a canopy hanging over the user and directing the rain downwards, it adds a shield element to proceedings, hence the name. This immediately remedies two problems associated with umbrellas: 1. Protection from sideways rain or splashes from cars. 2. The risk of the umbrella being blown inside out by strong winds.

In addition to the changes made to the shape and nature of the canopy, Rain Shield also loses the complicated structure of rods and wires seen in a typical umbrella. Instead, a telescopic rod and single curved steel wire are used to keep the canopy rigid. This remedies another two problems associated with umbrellas: 1. The danger of poking either your own or someone else's eyes out with the pointed tips of the wires. 2. The pole you hold is positioned to one side, meaning the user is better protected.

Despite its strange shape, the Rain Shield is designed to be easy to open and close

Despite its strange shape, the Rain Shield is designed to be easy to open and close

Rain Shield is the creation of Taiwanese designers Lin Min-Wei and Liu Li-Hsiang. Liu demonstrates how the concept works in the video at the end of this article. This demo includes showing how Rain Shield can be broken down until it's just a small disc, able to be stored in bags in the same way a mini umbrella can be.

Rain Shield recently won a Red Dot design concept award at a ceremony held in Singapore. While it's only a concept at present, Liu has indicated a desire to place Rain Shield on Kickstarter in the hopes of building interest. If a wearable umbrella can make it to market, then I see no reason why Rain Shield couldn't do so too.

Source: Red Dot Online via Yanko Design

About the Author
Dave Parrack Dave is a technology journalist with a ravenous appetite for gadgets, gizmos, and gubbins. He's based in the U.K., and from his center of operations writes about all facets of modern and future technology. He has learned more in his five years writing for the Web than he did in 11 years at school, and with none of the boring subjects thrown in to the mix.   All articles by Dave Parrack
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7 Comments

Me wants it!

Now that the thought barrier is broken I also anticipate that future kits of rain gear will have theese kind of springs in them that makes the wet surface come away a little bit from the body. It would also enable for better ventilation and the wearer of the rain gear less wet from the moist from the body. We might be looking like american footballplayers but I believe it would be worth it.

Conny Söre
16th November, 2012 @ 01:54 am PST

The basic problem with the design involves visibility. Perhaps the "extension" should be made of a transparent material. I certainly wouldn't be comfortable not being able to see a bus bearing down on me!!

rsheng
16th November, 2012 @ 08:17 am PST

Interesting, but maybe not quite ready for prime time. Two reasons:

1. Walking in wind/rain I hold by umbrella high and loosely, just under the spars, and it automatically faces into the wind. This doesn't look self-correcting and might allow the occcasional smack to the head when the wind gusts.

2. Once out of the rain, a standard umbrella can be "pumped" to get the excess water off, and then carried in loose to an area where it can be opened to dry. This may not be able to do that, but perhaps it is a minor point.

This might work well, like a camping tent. My gut feel is that it needs more rods. I would like to have seen a picture showing the internals, and some video in real wind/rain.

Bruce H. Anderson
16th November, 2012 @ 09:39 am PST

They need to make the side transparent or we will be bumping into obstacles or people. Otherwise I love it!

Nigel Quinton
16th November, 2012 @ 09:53 am PST

yeah that would be great in a wind - NOT

wle

wle
16th November, 2012 @ 09:55 am PST

I like it. I love it!

Paul Anthony
16th November, 2012 @ 10:58 am PST

Great for wheelchair users who have some pushing them although I agree with the other comments that it would be better if the side section was transparent. Bravo for thinking outside the box. I'll look for it on Kickstarter.

FlFan
17th November, 2012 @ 09:57 am PST
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