European networking giant Vodafone is offering a solution to portable phone charging with the Booster Brolly. Developed by Dr Kenneth Tong at University College London, the Booster Brolly is an umbrella that triples up as a charger and signal booster.
Fitted with a high-gain antenna and low-power signal repeater, the umbrella catches radio waves from the nearest Vodafone transmitter before generating a low-intensity signal within the mouth of the brolly.
Clip your phone on to the carbon fibre pole and you’ll be able to charge your handset via USB. The handle houses the USB-charging circuit, the booster circuit and a switch to turn the signal booster on or off and even an LED torch.
And all of this in an umbrella that weighs about 800g.