Category Archives: News

Everything that got my attention, forced to think some issues through or simply made me laugh

Scotland, there is still no umbrella for you!

When I moved to Aberdeen, Scotland, I didn’t have big expectations regarding the weather. I imagined dark, rainy days, and I got them (no complains on that, people and whisky compensate weather conditions, but I will write about that some other time). Therefore it’s no surprise that I immediately bought an umbrella. Feeling save and equipped in ‘rain-protector’ I went for the first time to the city centre. The very same day my umbrella got broken. By the wind, of course. Without giving that too many thoughts, I bought my second umbrella. My walk from home to the university lasted for about 40 minutes. My umbrella didn’t survive even half of the way as after 10 minutes it turned inside-out and fabric frigged. When I reached university, soaked in rain, looking truly miserable I have learned the most unbelievable fact from a colleague of mine: ‘Oh, didn’t you know that only tourists carry umbrellas here? That is exactly how we distinguish Aberdonians from the rest!’ And that was actually true. I dig up that there exists dozens of expressions Scots use to describe their windy weather, like ‘Gab o’ May‘, to describe stormy weather at the start of May or ‘skirl‘ which corresponds to the sound of strong wind (you can read more about that here). I finally realized that there was simply no point of buying another umbrella.

Up until today. Scientists from Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, China, had designed an umbrella that instead of relying on a metal pole and attached to it fabric, wants to use advantages of an air flow to provide shelter and keep users dry (source) . As the team is currently rising money on the kickstarter website to fund their further research on invisible umbrella (you can take a look into their demo video below), I thought it might solve the problem of carrying an umbrella under heavy rain and wind. Unfortunately, authors inform on their FAQ site that if the speed of wind is high, the natural wind will oppress the air flow generated by the air umbrella and will decrease the scope of sheltering and affect its performance. Also, the market price of the product is predicted to be about $200 and the battery currently lasts only for about 30 minutes, which significantly narrows group of possible clients.

So sorry Scotland, there is still no umbrella that would help Scots to stay dry during the gandiegow.