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An Umbrella That Signals To Soaked Strangers That You’re Happy To Share

Turn on the umbrella’s LED and make someone’s rainy day a little brighter.

If you’ve walked through a rainstorm protected by a nice big umbrella while the person next to you has gotten soaking wet, it’s possible you may have felt a twinge of sympathy for your fellow man. If so, there’s now a way to indicate that you’re prepared to share your umbrella with the world. It’s called Umbrella Here.

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Now on Kickstarter, Umbrella Here is a puck-like LED light you slip over the top of the the umbrella to indicate you’re part of the sharing society. You control it from an app on your phone.

“It is very embarrassing to ask the person next to you to share their umbrella with you. You just don’t know how to ask them,” says Patience Lee, one of the designers of the light. “The umbrella is like a private shelter for each person. This is a signal so you don’t have to ask people to share directly.”

See the video pitch here:

The deeper aim isn’t so much to keep people dry as to get people talking. Once you’ve made a connection with someone, you can record the time and location on the app, and reconnect with the person online if they’ve done the same.

“Umbrella Here helps facilitate communication. Both of you can feel the warmth of helping someone or being helped,” Lee says.

Helpfully, the light, which costs $20, also doubles as a reminder device. If you step away from a restaurant or cafe without your umbrella, it will alert your phone and prompt you to go back. You’ll be glad when it begins raining again.

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About the author

Ben Schiller is a New York staff writer for Fast Company. Previously, he edited a European management magazine and was a reporter in San Francisco, Prague, and Brussels.

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