Unfolding soon: Vodafone’s signal-boosting, phone-charging umbrella

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You might not be James Bond, but you could be mistaken for him if you carry¬†Vodafone’s Booster Brolly: The umbrella can charge a phone while also boosting cellular reception with the touch of a button. Vodafone plans to offer the unique umbrella at various festivals this summer around the UK, according to Geek.

The Booster Brolly is the brainchild of Dr. Kenneth¬†Tong a lecturer in antennas and microwave technology at University College London. In just six weeks, Tong was able to build a prototype umbrella based from his designs and concept ideas. A dozen two-volt solar panels are hand-stitched into the umbrella and it can charge a handset or light a small built-in “torch” or flashlight.

The folding struts of the umbrella are made from aluminum, to improve conductivity and a small, but high-gain antenna paired with a small signal repeater is incorporated as well. Thanks to a small clasp on the carbon fiber pole, you can clip your phone to the umbrella for a charge, improved signal and hands-free usage. No word on if there’s a built-in laser cutter like Bond has in his watch.

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