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January 30, 2008

The Multitasking Umbrella of the Future

Scientists in the U.S. and Japan are developing new devices they've saved for a rainy day.

BBC News reported that an American company has developed a smart umbrella with the ability to alert its users of weather forecasts for 150 U.S. locations via Accuweather.com.

The umbrella contains a radio receiver in the handle, which activates a flashing light to warn of approaching rain or snow. The higher the probability of rain or snow, the faster the light begins to flash.

Also, in Tokyo, scientists are developing a prototype umbrella named Pileus that has the ability to wirelessly connect to the web while using the underside as a projection surface.

BBC News also reported that Pileus will allow users to watch streaming videos, take pictures with a built-in camera, and even navigate their stroll by using the umbrella's satellite positioning system.

Inspired by the advent of this new technology, design students from Japan and Korea are already developing park benches that will hold umbrellas open so that users will have a dry seat to view the web wherever they may roam.

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Pileus