With Internet Umbrella, you can browse while on the move in rain.

Japan's researchers from Keio university and Pileus LLC have come out with a new colourful umbrella for rainy days ahead. The Internet Umbrella acts as a video monitor displaying images from the Internet as the user walks along. The handle of the umbrella fitted with a projector transmits images to the underside of the umbrella so the user can watch it alive while walking in rain.

Aptly named Pileus, or head of a mushroom resembling an umbrella, it was invented by two Keio university graduates Matsumoto Takashi, 27, and Hashimoto Sho, 22. They were part of Prof Okude Naohito's research lab which specializes in interaction design research.

Since Japanese use umbrella frequently with rainy days spread over ten out of 12 months in a year, the Internet Umbrella contains a camera, a motion sensor, GPS, and a digital compass. The handle can be controlled by rotating the grip.

Apart from browsing online photo-sharing site Flickr, it can also take pictures, upload them and exchange photo streaming with other users, besides displaying YouTube videos.


Matsumoto Takashi and Hashimoto Sho have come out with an Internet Umbrella to browse while on the move in rain. Photo Courtesy: Pileus.net

GPS and compass, the Internet Umbrella helps users find their way around by displaying 3D maps using Google Earth and gives the user his exact location. So, no need to use a guidebook or a smartphone to look for directions in Tokyo now.

The young graduates hope to make the device broad-based to view information generated by other users anywhere in real time. “This product aims to enhance people’s everyday lives by synchronizing information on the Internet and in real places,” they said on their website.

They have displayed their conceptual project first in 2007 at Laval Virtual 2007, Europe's biggest virtual reality convention and bagged the Innovation Prize.

Now the focus is on upgrading it further, say in a park when users can sit and watch. New designers from Japan and South Korea are currently working on a metal framed bench that will hold the Internet Umbrella open, so that one can relax and watch without getting wet.