Umbrellas are a necessary evil. They're awesome because they keep us 80% dry when the sky cries, but they suck because you have to hold them, they can't compete with strong gusts of wind, and they take up way too much space on the sidewalk. There are very few alternatives so we've learned to cope with the mediocre invention, but thanks to a Chinese inventor named Chuan Wang and graduates from the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Nanjing University, hope is on the way in the form of the Air Umbrella.
The wand/handle of the umbrella houses a motor and lithium battery that blows air out of the top to repel water like the canopy of a standard umbrella, only much cooler. The Kickstarter page for the project has already exceeded it's goal, but it will still be a while before you see the Air Umbrella in stores because the designers are still developing the product. The batteries in the current prototypes only last between 15 and 30 minutes, so it would be good for those quick trips to the subway but not for a stroll through Central Park. Also, it looks like the Air Umbrella would spray any and everyone near you, but normal umbrellas do that too, so it's not a deal breaker in our opinion.
Head to the Kickstarter page to learn more about the project and to be one of the lucky few to get the first batch of umbrellas by Sept. 2015.