Improve your phone signal with Vodafone’s high-tech umbrella!Dale Wright
If you own a smartphone, you’ll probably have experienced the frustration of poor 3G signals. Sometimes it can be hard to get a reliable 3G connection on holiday, in rural areas, at music festivals – or even, unfortunately, in your own home. It can be very frustrating to purchase a shiny new iPhone 4S or Android phone, only to find that you can’t use the best features properly as your connection slows to a crawl.
Various gadgets and gizmos have come and gone over the years to combat signal problems – remember those funny stickers we slapped on the back of our Nokia phones? Now Vodafone have come up with a new solution, ideal for anyone heading off to a festoval or risking a camping holiday during the wet summer weather.
The Booster Brolly is, at first glance, a low-tech solution to a high-tech problem. But this is an umbrella with gadgetry built-in. The Booster Brolly serves four purposes: it keeps you dry (of course!), it boosts your phone signal, it charges your phone via USB, and it handily advertises Vodafone during those long aerial camera shots over the main stage.
The Booster Brolly isn’t quite as basic as the stickers we used to use, though. It’s peppered with solar panels and has an antenna built in to improve your 3G signal. The USB slot can also be used to recharge other gadgets: an iPod, a mifi router or even your Kindle if you get a bit bored of the music. It was invented by boffins at University College London: Dr Kenneth Tong, the man behind the high-tech umbrella, described it as “a James Bond umbrella – you can’t tell what it does from the outside”. More from Dr Kenneth Tong
Vodafone’s Booster Brolly is currently a prototype but will be available free to people on the Vodafone VIP programme at next year’s Glastonbury festival, and since it weighs less than 1Kg, it won’t weigh you down too much as you explore the festival site. If you’re lucky enough to get hold of one, you’ll have to let us know if it really works.