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Windproof Rainshader claims to reinvent the umbrella

By

May 9, 2013

Rainshader has been tested in a wind tunnel up to gale force 7

Rainshader has been tested in a wind tunnel up to gale force 7

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Anyone that looks at press releases with any regularity will no doubt have felt the onset of re- fatigue, induced by the weight of new products which claim to "rethink," "re-imagine" and "redefine" things (but seldom do). So while we're a little dubious of the claim that Rainshader "reinvents" the umbrella – it is still a canopy on a stick, after all – at least there's no denying that there is actual innovation in evidence. Apparently the helmet-shaped Rainshader doesn't turn inside out in the wind, drip on people, or poke them in the eye.

If it sounds like inventor Stephen Collier has sapped all the joy from the humble umble, the Rainshader's streamlined form at least makes it easier to cut through a crowd. Collier came up with the idea at The Grand National (the UK's foremost horse race, where amblers of the two-legged variety are rife). He's not the first to revisit the established form of the umbrella, of course, with the Rain Shield perhaps the quirkiest of the ideas we've seen.

Unlike an ordinary umbrella, which channels water in all directions from its center, the Rainshader instead channels water forwards and backwards via parallel panels of material. So long as the person directly behind the Rainshadee can see, they should know not to stand so close as to be dripped on. The back of the Rainshader hangs low over the user's shoulders and the front is cut away to see forwards (though sideway vision would seem to be impaired, so the Rainshaded should go extra carefully when crossing roads).

Rainshader has undergone wind tunnel tests up to speeds of gale force 7 and not been found wanting. It's also claimed that the umbrella is safer in electrical storms because it is made with fiber glass rather than steel ribs.

A prototype was developed with the help of the University of Warwick's WMG manufacturing center using 3D printing. It's available now from the Rainshader website for £24.99 (about $39). Its inventor hopes that the large visible surface area of the back will prove attractive to advertisers, particularly at outdoor sporting events.

Below you can see a video of Rainshader undergoing testing in a wind tunnel. You know you want to.

Source: University of Warwick
Product page: Rainshader

About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life.   All articles by James Holloway
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8 Comments

Couldn't the sides have been made transparent?

There was no video of it being opened and closed; it would have helped to see if there was any increase in the volume of this model - does it collapse to a size that allows it to be put into a shoulder bag or pocket.

Thunderbird4
10th May, 2013 @ 06:16 am PDT

Reminds of the Senz umbrella http://www.senzumbrellas.com/en/the-idea/

Aleksandra Wladyczynska
10th May, 2013 @ 08:04 am PDT

Turn it around in that wind tunnel and it will be yanked violently out of the guy's hands, or, if he has a good enough grip on it, it probably will still turn inside out. Wind Tunnel test=Fail.

Stuart M Anderson
10th May, 2013 @ 06:09 pm PDT

If this umbrella were made with some heavy plastic we could play some serious Football.

Go Redskins!

Rosenkranz
11th May, 2013 @ 04:58 am PDT

It looks like they turned the wind tunnel from blow to suck so the test was valid. You can tell the wind direction by looking at his shirt.

Daishi
11th May, 2013 @ 11:06 am PDT

What the heck did THAT video prove? Absolutely NOTHING.

Fritz Menzel
11th May, 2013 @ 12:45 pm PDT

The wind is sucking not blowing

Andrew Zuckerman
13th May, 2013 @ 12:46 am PDT

The umbrella covers no more than say 20 % of the wind tunnel suction opening. So all the readings would be false.

BTW if there is a cutout in the front of the umbrella and the user is facing the direction of the wind it is going to be of no use at all. I would much rather have then use heavy gauge transparent plastic sheet to be able to avoid others around !

pmshah
28th July, 2013 @ 08:48 am PDT
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