Vodafone unveils high-tech Booster Brolly, signal boosting umbrella

By Lee Kaelin on June 15, 2012, 1:00 PM

UK network provider Vodafone has unveiled a new multi-purpose, signal boosting umbrella aimed at summer festival revelers that they say improves your phone signal, charges your phone, can be used as a torch and keeps you dry in the typical English weather festival-goers experience.

The multifunctional umbrella is the work of Kenneth Tong, of University College London and even includes solar cells knitted into the canopy fabric that provide all of the power for its functions, alongside additional aluminum struts that also act as antennas. Even given the impressive features (for an umbrella), it weighs in at just 800 grams.

"The Vodafone Booster Brolly uses a clever combination of high gain antenna and low power signal repeater to catch radio waves from a Vodafone transmitter, before dispersing a very low intensity signal, creating a small 'signal shower', just above users' heads," Vodafone said when speaking to the Inquirer.

It results in a stronger, more directed signal for its holder, and provides a signal boost to those around them as well. That is assuming you're a Vodafone customer of course, those on other UK networks are out of luck.

In its bid to become the Swiss Army knife of umbrellas, the Booster Brolly also has the ability to charge a mobile phone via USB, with the charging unit housed in the handle. It also has a torch, which will no doubt be ideal for those trying to locate their tent among hundreds of others in the dark.

"We've put in all of this technology but its not heavy, its not big - and it looks good. In fact, it's a bit of a James Bond umbrella - you can't tell what it does from the outside," said the umbrellas creator, Kenneth Tong.

Vodafone's umbrella is still in the concept stage and its unclear when it will be available for purchase, or how much it will cost. What we do know is it will make its debut at next week's festival in the Isle of Wight, where Vodafone VIP customers will get a chance to test it out. 

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