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Booster Brolly Umbrella Charges Phones, Boosts Signals

If you ever find yourself melting under the hot summer sun in the middle of the desert, you may want to invest in the ultra nifty Booster Brolly umbrella designed by University College London PhD students. Led by antenna and microwave technology professor Dr. Kenneth Tong, the team has created the high-tech umbrella for telecoms company Vodafone.

Nowadays, most of our smartphones need to be charged on a daily basis. Unfortunately if we're on the go, this can be a bit problematic. Hoping to solve this problem, the Booster Brolly utilizes solar panels stitched into the canopy of the umbrella, harnessing the sun's energy to generate electricity stored inside of a battery tucked away inside the handle.

The battery can then be used to charge a mobile phone or any other USB-enabled mobile device in as little as three hours. When the sun goes down, any residual power can be used to power the LED torch located in the handle as well. As if this wasn't useful enough, the Booster Brolly even solves spotty coverage problems with the combination of a high-gain antenna and low-power signal repeater.

Although no release date was given, a prototype of the device will be trialed at the 2012 Isle of Wight Festival later on this month. After that, all we have to do is hope this neat umbrella makes its way to all the sunny corners of the world. Until then, head on over to the Vodafone blog for more information on the project.