What do you do when you just walk out of the rain with your umbrella? We ususally leave it at the doorway till most of the water drips off. Or we just try and shake off as much water as we can. I think there should be a really innovative way of designing an umbrella such that it doesn’t create a mess when wet.
What are the existing types of umbrellas out there?
The general concept of the umbrella has remained the same over the years. There’s been some modifications made to the depth of the dome, the handle and the overall size. Most modern umbrellas are equipped with a push mechanism near the handle that releases the dome.
What are the issues?
(a) Some umbrellas blow inside out when used in strong wind.
(b) Most people find umbrellas cumbersome and wish they were handier to carry.
(c) They create a mess when wet.
Are there any solutions out there?
Many designers have tried their hands at solving some of these issues. The ‘wet umbrella wrapper machine’ is an example of one such innovative idea (http://www.ecvv.com/product/2155735.html). Another intriguing idea is the ‘air umbrella’ concept design, which supposedly pumps out air to deviate the direction of raindrops, so it doesn’t drench the user (http://www.yankodesign.com/2010/01/12/try-air-to-stay-dry/) There is another umbrella design which is foldable into a lady’s hand bag and retains the water in the bag (http://www.yankodesign.com/2008/01/23/wet-umbrellas-no-more/).
I think there’s a general concensus regarding the need to solve the wet umbrella issue. There’s been quite some outstanding work done on it but I don’t think it has been approached with simplicity, form and function. The wet umbrella wrapping machine relies heavily on the availability of the machine. The air umbrella has questions regarding its ability to deviate heavier rain drops, and also the cold temperature it may create when used in the rain. The inside-out umbrella does not create a universal solution to the problem in the sense that it is targeted at only women.
During my research, I also found out that most men consider umbrellas bulky and just not cool enough. It would be great if I could design an umbrella that doesn’t just address the ‘wet’ issue but also brings it back in vogue for men and women alike.