Solar cellphone chargers are a dime a dozen, but this one from British telecom company Vodafone puts a few new spins on an old idea.
I guess it makes sense that students from University College London would think of making an umbrella into a solar charger, seeing as umbrellas are pretty much a part of the landscape over there. I lived in various parts of England for about nine years, and can assure you that the endless rain thing isn't just a cliché.
Given enough sun (kind of rare in England) the 12 solar panels will generate enough juice to recharge a typical phone in about three hours. There is a battery in the handle to store the charge, so you don't need to leave you phone connected as you stomp around.
As if that wasn't enough, the students also made it so the umbrella acts as a signal booster, adding a lot more antenna area for those long lonely treks out into the wilderness, and there's even a solar powered torch (flashlight in American) to help you find your way.
The Vodafone Booster Brolly prototype will be undergoing testing at the Isle of Wight Festival next week. I guess the developers are hoping for sunny rain.