We’ve all been there. You’re out and about, on a sunny day, when all of a sudden the clouds gather and it starts to rain. It’s not a light shower, either, but that apocalyptic type of rain storm that looks like all the rain in the world is going to fall before it stops.
If only there were some useful headwear that could deal with the problem of getting wet without you having to carry an umbrella in your bag and get it out ... an umbrella that could automatically open at the first hint of rain, and keep you genuinely dry.
Something roughly equating to this scenario has clearly been going around the mind of YouTuber Richard of the Lingonsaft channel ... well, why else would he have constructed a hard-hat-mounted umbrella, complete with an Arduino and water sensor to detect rain?
In the video above, you’ll get an idea of what is involved, with a speeded-up look at the construction of the hat, along with a few amusing tests. In short, the umbrella is attached to the top of the helmet, along with the servo, which features a release mechanism to open the umbrella. At the back of the helmet, the water sensor is situated, while between the bottom of the umbrella and your head is the Arduino, connected to a battery.
Once rain strikes, and hits the sensor, the code in this Arduino sketch triggers the servo. Strategically-placed elastic bands hold the umbrella in its ‘closed’ position, but once the servo activates, the umbrella springs open, ready to shield the wearer from the elements.
Now clearly this is a design missing elegance; the wearer looks utterly ridiculous. However, it’s damn clever, don’t you think? With a bit of time, a build like this could be reworked, or even repurposed. Perhaps a patio table with an automatically-opening canopy or parasol for particularly sunny weather for instance, or a similar device on a pram or pushchair.
Failing that, a head-mounted umbrella that doubles as a satellite dish in strong wind...