We think of the umbrella as an instrument of utility but they have a tendency to fail due to high winds or through being overused. Surely someone by now has thought of something better by now? Here are some creative alternative designs that could change the way we stop from getting drenched.
Probably the oldest alternative to the umbrella is the banana leaf. This is accessible in tropical climates using a machete or by simply ripping it off the tree. It’s free and environmentally friendly. Just dump it when the rain stops falling.
Next up there is the Bumboo device which was designed by Rizki Tarisa and Maximilian Aji Wijoyoseno. It’s a multiple-purpose design that can be a pillow, seat cushion, walking stick, rubbish picker, or umbrella. To make it into a pillow you fold it into a grid pattern and the soft covering provides a comfortable sleep. There is a point on the tip which allows you to pick up rubbish or employ it as a defense weapon.
The Inside Out Umbrella by Seung Hee Soon allows the user to use it both as an umbrella and as an open carry bag. It’s best to make sure the inside of your bag is dry before putting anything in it. And you might have guessed by now that you turn the umbrella inside out to turn it into a bag and vice-versa.
The Eco Brolly by Shiu Yuk Yuen is more of a device than an umbrella. It’s up to you to provide the coverage, whether it’s an old sheet of newspaper or a piece of flexible plastic. To use, you pop out the supporting structure and fix the improvised covering onto the frame. You do this by unscrewing the top lid, then pierce the material with the spike and allow the covering to rest on the extended frame. The best thing about it is that the device can fit into your pocket. I don’t know how well it would work with the wind blowing.
The Full Body umbrella allows the user to remain completely dry by encasing the user in a structured bubble. It’s so large that it would only be practical if no one else was nearby and it would be difficult to walk down a narrow lane. Then there’s that awkward feeling when everyone is staring at you.
Probably a more practical design is the Funny Umbrella or Sun-Shade Hat. It extends out like a real umbrella but it is worn on the head. The advantage of this device is that you don’t need to hold it in your hand. The disadvantage is that you’ll soon have people constantly coming up to you asking where you bought it.
Uberhood released an umbrella designed specifically to be used on bicycles. The bicycle could only be ridden at moderate speeds when the umbrella was folded out due to wind and umbrellas not combining well and when folded away it was right in front of the rider, making forward vision an issue. This design never really caught on which is not surprising.
And finally, it has happened. Someone designed an umbrella that can be fixed to a baby stroller or pram. No longer will you have to push the pram with one hand and hold the umbrella with the other hand. A device called My Blue Bumbershoot comes with an attachable clamp that allows you to fix the umbrella to the pram. The question is why did it take so long to invent such a simple device with such obvious benefits.