The umbrella, which is sadly just a prototype at the time of writing, is the result of a collaboration between Vodafone and University College London. There are 12 silicon solar cells integrated into the canopy; together they provide enough juice to run the signal booster, an LED flashlight and a USB phone charger which is able to charge a phone in around three hours. That is a lot of technology for the world’s most commonly misplaced item.
Vodafone plans to test the Booster Brolly at the Isle of Wight music festival on June 22nd. Whether or not it has a future from there is anyone’s guess – but as long as they get the pricing right, I could see it taking off in countries that get a lot of rain.