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— Outdoors

Cypress Umbrella doesn't flip out, thanks to automotive-inspired rib suspension system

Quality products generally make tasks easier to accomplish while lasting longer than their cheaper counterparts. When it comes to staying dry outside in tempestuous weather, however, almost all umbrellas tend to suffer similar shortcomings. The Cypress, however, may be the last and best umbrella you'll ever own, as its telescopic suspension system is designed to be stronger, durable, and more resistant to flipping inside-out.

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— Good Thinking

Air umbrella produces a "force field" of air to keep you dry

People certainly haven't been afraid to try and reinvent the umbrella over the years. There was the solar-powered Booster Brolly, the windproof Rainshader and the lopsided Rain Shield, just to name a few. But now a team of Chinese designers is looking to do away with the awkward metal poles and canopy entirely, relying instead on a "force field" of air to keep you nice and dry. Read More

Rainwater used to generate electricity

When we complain about the rain, other people will often say "Yeah, but it's good for the plants." Well, thanks to a microturbine-based system created by three students from the Technological University of Mexico, it's now also being used to generate electricity for use in low-income homes. Read More
— Automotive

McLaren's ultrasonic force field to replace windshield wipers

Windshield wipers are life-savers, but also can drive one to distraction with their incessant streaking and chattering. Well, the tyranny of the wipers may soon be over. McLaren Automotive’s chief designer Frank Stephenson told The Sunday Times that the performance motoring company is investigating the use of "ultrasonic force fields" to replace windshield wipers in automobiles. While Stephenson referred to a military source for McLaren's tech, there appears to be very little public information on how such force fields might clean a windshield during a storm, so I'm taking a look at the patent history to see how this might be accomplished. Read More
— Science

Moving cars could be used to measure rainfall

Rain gauges are generally pretty accurate at measuring the amount of precipitation that has fallen at their location, but they can't be everywhere. This means that average rainfall figures for a region could be inaccurate, if considerably more or less rain has been falling in unmonitored areas. Cars, however, are just about everywhere that there are roads. With that in mind, researchers from Germany's University of Hanover are looking at using them to tell us how much water is coming from the sky. Read More

Plume bicycle mudguard recoils when not needed

Although there are already plenty of good bicycle fenders out there, some people don’t like the way they rattle around, while others think that they detract from the looks of the bike. One option is to use something like the QuickFix, which is a fold-flat rear mudguard that attaches to the frame in seconds. The Plume, however, takes a different approach – it’s a mudguard that recoils like a metal tape measure when not in use. Read More