We’ve all lost umbrellas before. You leave them in a pub or a wedding or a bus, but what if technology could help you find an umbrella? New Zealand’s Blunt Umbrellas might have found a way to do that, embracing a little bit of technology to make it happen.
GadgetGuy generally doesn’t cover a lot in the way of storm and rain resistant technology, not unless it applies to a laptop or a phone, but Blunt Umbrellas has grabbed our attention once before with its hydrophobic umbrella, and it’s doing it again with an umbrella that makes it easier to find if you ever part ways with it.
To make this happen, Blunt is teaming up with a small Bluetooth gadget called a “Tile” which is made by a company of the same name. Essentially, the Tile is a small plastic brick that cast a Bluetooth signal of up to 30 metres to talk to an app on compatible phones, generally those supporting Bluetooth Low Energy (LE), also know as Bluetooth Smart.
When a phone with the Tile app talks to a Tile, the phone stores its GPS position, helping you to place where you put that Tile last, and the app will even tell you when you’re getting close to that Tile, filling a circle almost like a hotter/colder tracking method.
Blunt doesn’t make the Tile gadget, but is rather an investor of it, and is using this inside two of its new umbrella models to make it harder to lose the umbrella (unless you of course leave it on a bus, in which case, all bets are off).
As such, if you can’t find it in your home, the Tile app will help you locate it, and if you’ve left it at work and someone is claiming it’s their umbrella, you can point them to the app telling them this is your trackable umbrella and not their app-less umbrella.
“We’re well known for having revolutionised umbrella design and Tile has become the world’s largest lost and found device, so it felt like the ideal collaboration”, said Joel Schuberg, Managing Director of Blunt Umbrellas in Australia.
“The Blunt + Tile umbrella could solve a really annoying problem for millions of people every day”, he said.
Like the previous Blunt Umbrellas, the units include softened points that won’t try to poke the eyes out of people, as well as a high-tension canopy with a fibreglass skeleton that has been wind tunnel tested to not blow inside out some of those very windy times. They’re not guaranteed to survive a hurricane, but unlike the cheap umbrella you keep replacing, this will probably stay the course in most cities during storms.
We’re checking to see whether the model with the hydrophobic coating will be offered with the Tile included, as well as how long the Tile works before needing to be replaced since it never needs a charge, and will come back shortly with the answers, but from what we’re seeing, the Tile may need a replacement every year to maintain the ability to talk with a phone, a cost that translates to roughly $30.
As for availability, Australians can expect the Blunt + Tile Umbrella to hot select stockists as well as online ordering in March, where a compact model will sell for $100 while a larger model will fetch a price of $130.