That thing is what Vodafone calls the Booster Brolly, a modern fusion of traditional British summer rain protection and up-to-date mobile charging and signal enhancement.
It’s been designed by Dr Kenneth Tong of University College London, who has combined flexible solar panels with a high gain antenna to create an umbrella that can charge your phone while simultaneously boosting the signal. We’re not entirely sure it’s a good idea to place your head directly beneath a thing that amplifies mobile radio frequencies, but presumably the doctor knows what he’s doing and no one’s hair is going to fall out as a result.
The end product is a very useful umbrella accessory that weighs only 800 grams and has a USB charging socket on the handle for powering a phone or any other digital thing, that should be available to some lucky Vodafone VIP guests at this summer’s wave of festivals.
Although it might not be, as we’re a little concerned that this is not a real thing at all and is simply a festival-based PR stunt. However, Dr Tong seems to be a real person so perhaps his new-fangled electric umbrella is too. [Vodafone]