National Geographic : 2011 Nov
Umbrellas 2.0 We trash countless umbrellas each year, grumbling about how easily they flip or fail us in strong storms. Now several novel designs attempt to confront the classic canopy's downfalls. To avoid inversion, Dutch designer Gerwin Hoogendoorn made his Senz umbrella (above) aerodynamic enough to withstand wind tunnel gusts of 70 miles an hour. Greig Brebner, a tall New Zealander alarmed by the onslaught of eye-level spokes he faced while living in London, came up with the Blunt umbrella, with enclosed points that make it both safer and stronger. And for that romantic stroll in the rain, there's even a tandem umbrella. The boldest revision comes from U.S. entrepreneur Alan Kaufman: Nubrella, a transparent bubble that rests on one's shoulders or, soon, in a backpack. Sure, it looks a bit odd. But "in real bad weather," says Kaufman, "not many people are looking at you." ---Amanda Fiegl NEXT PHOTO: REBECCA HALE, NGM STAFF. ART: JASON LEE Going tandem The double-broad canopy offers full coverage for two. Bubble concept Avoid the elements--- or turn heads at least ---the hands-free way.